“Your child will follow your example, not your advice”
The quote above gets me every time I read it. It gets me, simply because it causes me to reflect on my parenting style. It usually ends with me taking my right hand and smacking myself upside my right temple.
You have been there before haven’t you? Ok, maybe not smacking yourself upside the head but you know exactly what I’m talking about. We can tell our children this, and we can tell our children that, but until they see us living our words they won’t buy any bit of it.
We tell them to use good manners. We ask them to pick up after themselves. We ask them to have a positive attitude. We want them to be patient human beings. Unfortunately, many times, we ask them to be somebody that we are not.
The quote certainly causes us to reflect. Whether we are parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, we all have an obligation to model the behaviors we want to see in our youth. Mahatma Gandhi once said “be the change you want to see in the world.” If we want our children to act a certain way, we must act that way.
If you are angry in front of your child, expect your child to be angry. If you speak negatively about another person in front of your child, expect your child to do the same. Children are twenty percent of our population, but one-hundred percent of our future.
Pair that last statement with the fact that attitudes are highly contagious. If we want to change the world for the better, it starts with looking in the mirror and changing the person staring back at us. I’m not saying this is easy. I’m not saying that we adults are evil either. But, personally, I’m getting sick of hitting myself in the right temple.
Let’s be the change that we want to see in the world. Hug your enemies. Hold the door for someone in need. Listen to someone that needs to be heard. Be a lover and not a fighter. Pay it forward to someone, and let me leave you with one more quote to reflect on from William Arthur Ward. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates…”
Let’s all be superior teachers.