Barbies, Tonka trucks and iPods are all splendid presents that I am sure the youth of today will be looking forward to when they creep down the stairs on Christmas morning. With all the money that we spend on our children, there is a gift we can give them that won't cost a thing. Besides freely showering them with our love and affection, we can give them the gift of a good example. This is a gift that will be more valuable to our kids then all the purchased toys combined.

I came to ponder the results of our actions as parents when my daughter, Isabella, became visibly and audibly upset at the site of my husband and I "play fighting". Though my husband and I were laughing, Isabella could only focus on the mock wrestling move of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. Upon our immediate disbandment, all was fine in her little world. I was surprised at her reaction, but also alerted to the fact that Isabella is like a sponge, absorbing every move we make and every word we say.

My daughter doesn't just see what we do or hear what we say, she is emotionally affected by our actions and easily influenced, be it in a negative manner or positive way . If Isabella frequently witnesses pretend fighting or rough play, she will grow to learn this as the norm for interacting with others. When my husband and I carry on conversation with various words and fluctuating tones, she is listening, learning what is considered "acceptable" communication in our household and thus molding the future of all of her relationships. If there is a mutual respect shown to one another on a daily basis, then Isabella will regard her relationships with this same reverence.

Like many people in today's modern world, I frequently engage in social media networking such as facebook. As a new mother of a young toddler, I "like" pages such as Toys R Us and Pottery Barn Kids. What I don't like about these pages is the childish interactions that I often see between parents. Much to my chagrin, I have read name-calling, nasty accusations and verbal battles between adults. Parents. People responsible for bringing another human into this world with the assigned responsibility of raising a productive member of society. What I see is frightening. Parents are a child's number one role model. If these kids bear witness to their mother or father engaging in mud-slinging with strangers, what does that say to them about treating others with kindness and understanding, or embracing differences?

As a parent, one is expected to be a rock of emotional stability for their children to lean on. A sense of security, self-esteem and moral code all begin at home. Setting a good example is an important part of the foundation that we can provide to our children to give them a healthy, positive start in life. No one is perfect, and leading the way is always a work in progress. But your child will appreciate you, their real life hero, long after the plastic toy version breaks.

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