We grow up hearing all about everything. We are told how to behave, how to achieve, what to do, what not to do, who to be friends with, who to stay away from, what to believe, and what to fear. And I am grateful for the guidelines and standards that were set for me. Those words shaped my values and shaped my life.
But there was this phrase that would come up often in my childhood that I found funny then, but a bit troubling now. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I heard that maybe a thousand times in my youth and I pondered it probably a million times.
Wait. So what you’re saying is that you expect me to follow the rules, but it’s completely okay if you don’t? Oh, I see – that’s the privilege of being an adult. I get it now. Only kids have to do what they are told. Yeah, that makes perfectly no sense at all. Right?
Think about this for a moment…
Our youth – your children – the ones who look up to us – are watching every single move we make. Every action. And every reaction. That is what they see. And what they see, far outweighs what they are told. What they observe is the example that they will take away. Our “doing” is what is really teaching them. How we behave sets the foundation for how they will behave. Always.
So really, the famous childhood saying should have been “you’re gonna do as I do, no matter what I say”.
Considering the example that I want to set and the things that I hope will be a take-away, I have done things differently. I recognize that my actions speak louder than words. I am aware that my behavior is always on display. And I am careful not to expect that which I am not willing to hold myself accountable to.
Telling doesn’t cover all the bases. Telling is important, don’t get me wrong. But it is only part of the puzzle. Yes, by all means, we need to talk about rules and expectations and what is right or wrong. Those conversations are powerful.
But never underestimate the gravity of what you do. That is the image of life-done-right they will have. And in the doing, if done well, you have the glorious opportunity to provide guidance. Let your actions speak louder than your words. Always.
Sharing my thoughts on the topic of “tell” today, along with bunches of brilliant bloggers for Five Minute Friday. Yep, I am definitely a day late, but thanks to the encouraging community over at Kate Motaung’s Blog, I know they will welcome my Saturday words with open hearts.