April 12
To bring up a child in the
way he or she should go,
travel that way yourself
once in a while.

Josh Billings


Today's Meditation:

Walk the walk; talk the talk.  Practice what you preach.  It really isn't up to us to tell kids how they should grow up, but it certainly is up to us to help them to find out some things that work versus things that don't work.  And nothing turns a child away from a valid lesson as quickly or as effectively as witnessing that an adult who is telling him or her is saying one thing but doing something else.

Do we tell children to obey the laws, and then drive ten miles over the speed limit?  Do we tell kids not to talk behind other people's backs, and then turn around and say something about someone else as soon as they walk out the door?  Do we advise them to choose work that they love to do, and then complain constantly about our jobs?  Do we suggest that they save their money and then spend all of ours on luxury items or things that we don't truly need?

This isn't an attempt to judge anyone--we're all doing the best that we can.  But if we're blessed with the chance to have a positive influence on the life of a child or the lives of children, it's important that we take that role seriously and actually show those kids what it would be like if they were to follow our advice--if they were to be honest, if they were to be kind, if they were to work hard at what they do.

And who knows?  By taking our own advice in order to be an effective role model, we just may make a positive impact on our own lives.  And we certainly will teach the young person or persons the value and beauty of congruence between words and deeds.

Questions to consider:

Knowing how observant kids tend to be, why do so many of us try to trick them or pull the wool over their eyes?

Who were your most important role models?  Did they live by the same advice that they gave you?

How can we be sure that we're walking the same walk that we're preaching to the young people in our lives?

For further thought:

The best way to teach children restraint and generosity is to be a model of those qualities yourself.  If your children see that you want a particular item but refrain from buying it, either because it isnít practical or because you canít afford it, they will begin to understand restraint.  Likewise, if you donate books or clothing to charity, take them with you to distribute the items to teach them about generosity.

Lawrence Balter


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