What we ARE teaches the students far more than what we say, so we must be what we want our students to become.
——-from the Yoakum (Texas) Intermediate School
We must be what we want our children to grow up to be. That does not mean that my child has to become a clone of me. No, I would not want my child to make the same choices I have in order to seek my approval. What I would like for my child to learn from me is that when faced with a choice, my child will:
DO THE RIGHT THING
In order for my child to be able to access her own moral compass, it is my responsibility to demonstrate my own sense of what is right and wrong. My actions will certainly carry more weight than my words, but it would be helpful to at times explain to my child why I made the choice I did. Here’s an example of how this might go:
“I decided to not go to the meeting tonight, even though I had made that commitment to go last week,” I say.
“I thought we always have to do something if we say we’re going to do it,” answers my well-taught child.
“My family comes first. Your brother had a very bad day at school today. My place is with him and the family tonight–not at the meeting. I’ll call and let them know I won’t be there and have them email me their notes.”
Doing WHAT IS RIGHT often means making difficult choices, usually ones that put someone else’s interest above my own. At first it is a hard swallow to follow through with a choice that lays in a different direction than I had planned, but in my years of experience with this, the hard swallow is much easier than the hardship of aftermath if I don’t follow the WHAT IS RIGHT resolution.
We all have to keep practicing this specific resolution–all of our lives. Sometimes it seems to get harder, especially when there is so much emotional baggage attached to the choices involved. If we are to teach our child to become the best that they can be, we must resolve to be the best that we can be. And then practice forgiveness.
Be gentle with yourself and those who you know to struggle with doing WHAT IS RIGHT.