We had some cement work done on our driveway not too long ago. There is something irresistible about wet cement. You know what I'm talking about. Putting your initials or hand print in the wet cement knowing that once it dries it will leave a permanent record of you being there at least when the cement was wet (I put in my initials!).
Our kids are a lot like that wet cement. Everything that we do can shape and influence them somehow. And like the cement, the ability to make your mark in it is much greater when the cement is fresh.
What this means for you as a parent is to reflect on what you can do to make an positive "impression" on your child on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Ask yourself the question, "Are the impressions I'm leaving on my child ones that I want to be around for very long time?".
The other thing to think about is this the sooner you start this process the better. Children are much more impressionable when they are younger. It does not mean you won't be able to do this with teenagers, but the process is usually not as easy. That doesn't mean though that's it's too late with a teenager.
It takes cement usually a pretty long time to cure. Sure the top is dry but underneath it takes at least 4 weeks or so until it is fully cured. Drive something heavy on it too soon and you will likely have lots of cracks on it and an expensive repair.
Children are similar in that it takes quite a while before their actions and behaviors are fully set. You can continue to make a difference even if it is later in a child's life (think teenager).
Start that positive impression today.