Carl Jung is on record as stating that children are educated by what we as grown-ups are, and not by our talk. Our kids tend to do as we do. They watch us and learn how to be in the world. Their eyes are watching, their ears are listening and their points of view are developing. Every day we are teaching our children by demonstrating how to react to situations, and if we are not aware of what we are doing we may be teaching them something we don’t want them to learn.
As parents, we are role models for our children, so it is crucial to be aware of our actions and behavior. Our every word, facial expression, gesture, and action give our children messages about self-worth and how to be in the world. However, many of us parents don't realize what messages we are sending.
What we do is often much more important than what we say. 95% of everything our children learn is from witnessing how we choose to be and do. Indeed, they learn how to behave in certain situations, as well as learning positive (and negative) attributes and skills from watching us. It seems that only 5% of all they learn is from direct instruction.
If we expect our children to have manners, to be honest, to be kind and respectful, to be courteous, and gracious, we must do and be those things ourselves. We must lead by example. If we want to teach them gratitude, we need to practice gratitude every day in our life and living. If we're asking our kids to have a generosity of spirit, then we need to be this, too. We must walk the walk and practice what we preach. It is our legacy to our children.