There are four things that are written into my journal at the start of each day. When I finish pulling myself out of bed, getting dressed, and then starting the coffee maker, I open up my journal and begin writing. Four statements must go down onto paper first. I wrote about the first the other day: “What can I do today to make tomorrow better?”. Then the second: “Writing will set me free”. Today, I want to share the third statement:
“Be the example.”
It seems that in so much of life, we pay lip-service to ideas or values only to fail to put them into practice each day. Think of the politicians in the COVID era here telling people to avoid gatherings only to host large events. It is but one example of many that exist out in the world of those who promote one behavior while exhibiting another. We call it hypocrisy when people’s actions do not match the values they state.
Hypocrisy is only a fraction of what I mean when I write these words. It’s a reminder to embody the values that I hold in esteem. It means to not speak, rather show what it is that I believe is important. It is to remind me so that when I ask something of someone, or pay service to a value in words, that I must first be the example.
In my parenting it is especially important. As I teach my child the ways of the world, talking does little. Although much of what we say as parents does trickle down in some respects, such as the phrases and sayings our own parents repeated throughout our childhood, it does greater to be a person that can be looked upon… to be an example of how one should live their life.
As usual, this is something that I struggle with every day. To be honest, life knows what buttons to push to get someone beyond the edges of control. Having a reminder each day has helped. Sometimes… sometimes when I am about to do something other than what I say to be important, my memory will kick in, stop me, and remind me to not fall back on what I’ve said. It will remind me to be the example.