My 4-year-old grand-nephew came over to my house for Canadian Thanksgiving. Knowing that his mother and grandmother are smokers, I decided to do a little teaching. I said to him, “It’s not right to smoke, is it?”
In a rather loud, passionate and sure manner, he answered “noooo.” But it didn’t end there. In an equally convinced manner, he continued “Unless it’s in the bathroom or you go outside!” Woooah, I didn’t see that coming but I wasn’t surprised.The little boy was definitely told that smoking was bad, but his mother and his grandmother demonstrated there are times and places when it is the right thing to do!
What do we say is wrong, yet through our actions, demonstrate it can be in fact right? I tell my daughter it is wrong to scream, yet I scream at her whenever she drives me crazy. I have said to staff it is wrong to disrespect others, yet I have at times spoken very poorly of managers. What do you think they remembered, what I said or what I did?
So what do I do? What do we do? Right now, I can but really listen to myself, reflect on my words, and be conscious of where my words are not aligning with my actions. As a result, I very often catch myself when I want to scream at my daughter; for I do not want my screaming to be what I teach her, I want my actions to reflect the reserve, calm and love, I often speak to her and the world about.
What about you? Do you know what you actions are teaching others? Do your actions reinforce your words or make them seem worthless? What does that say to you?