Sometimes I wonder what kind of impression my family gives to other people. I do not refer to the way we dress or even the appearance of our home; no, I am speaking of ourselves. I wonder what people see when they catch a glimpse of who we really are.
Do we seem like a happy family? Do we seem uptight, strict, or too lenient?
While at first it might seem as if impressions are unimportant, that isn’t completely true. How can we be truly successful if, upon meeting someone, they are “turned off” by what they see?
If they cannot get past the surface, how will they see the heart of Christ? For this reason alone, it seems important to continually be on my guard about how we conduct ourselves.
Sometimes the only witness that people will have, both regarding our faith and our homeschooling, is a quick glimpse of our family as we pass them by. In that moment of time, what do they see?
Do they see children behaving and being honorable? Do they see mommy stressed and the kids unmanageable?
While no family is perfect, I do wish to encourage our family to be on their best behavior constantly.
If we make an attempt to be on our best behavior at home, then doing so while out in public will be that much easier. If we are constantly focusing on how to be honorable and respectful, it will not be “a front” but a natural way of life.
When stepping out with my family, we remind ourselves of what we represent… God and homeschooling. This helps all of us remember that other people are watching us and what they see will leave a lasting impression.
I remember distinctly two different circumstances:
- One afternoon my children and I were on a field trip, attempting to get on an elevator. One of my children just wasn’t listening and there were several people waiting for her to move. Not even thinking, I hastily grabbed her arm and dragged her to where she needed to be. The other ladies in the elevator looked and her and then at me; it was very obvious I had made a poor impression on them and that nothing I could say would change their mind about my patience level or my parenting. Talk about embarrassment on my part!
- On a different afternoon, the kids and I were grocery shopping. A lady stopped me in the store and complimented us on how well-behaved and happy our kids were. She noticed that the kids were singing and very helpful. What a pleasure to know that we left a good impression.
In one of the above circumstances, I would have had the freedom to share what we do and why we do it. In the other, I’m afraid the ladies wouldn’t have listened to a word I had to say and I can’t blame them!
Again, while we cannot be perfect all the time, nor should we expect to, I want to make sure that our family is very careful about how we behave and the impression that we leave with other people.
Leaving a good impression isn’t about “dazzling” someone, but rather leaving a door open to explaining why it is we do what we do. It is about being a silent witness for all the world to see.
Not all first impression are true, but generally they are a good gauge for what to expect. When people see me, what do they expect? When people hear me, what do they think?
Before people will hear a word that comes out of my mouth, they will “hear” what they see. I want to make sure that they are seeing the truth and they are hearing my heart, not a momentary imperfection that will close their hearts to learning more.
How do you feel about first impressions?