We Teach By Example

18 Jul

“How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?”  ~ Paul Sweeney

The young in any generation always get a bum rap.  They are too lazy, too selfish, too withdrawn, too apathetic, et cetera.  When people say that, the first thing I try to say to them is, “And just how do you teach them to do what is necessary?”  They get a blank look on their face.

But it is true.  If a young person is lazy or selfish or withdrawn or apathetic, one has to look at the child’s first and most important teachers — his or her parents — to see if they are acting out what is modeled in the home.  Many times a parent complains about a child without realizing that the child is a spitting image of the parent.

I often hear complaints about the way children do not live their faith.  Again, it is not hard to see where they get their attitude.  At our parish school, we remind parents that it is important to bring their children to church on Sunday and that they should be there with them.  A common response is, “They go twice during the week.  Isn’t that enough?!”

When people in authority skirt responsibility, they teach by their example that responsibility is not important.  We need to reverse that trend.  Thankfully, it is easy enough to do.  All we have to do is determine to set a good example.

It may not seem like much; but, we are often very unaware of just how many people watch what we do and listen to what we say.  If our examples are good ones, they will be copied by others.  We may not change the entire world in one week.  However, if we can change one person’s life, that person can be an example to others as well.

We teach by example, whether for good or ill.  Try to be a good example today.

FAITH ACTION:  Examine the way you live your life and determine just what it is you are teaching others by your actions and words.  If need be, modify what you do or say so that you may be a better example of the faith.