The best role model is one who lives what they teach. The admonition, “Do as I say, not as I do”, doesn’t hold water anymore, and it never did. I grew up learning by example, by watching my parents. And I know I have my head screwed on right, and so does my brothers. I read this in a book, “My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived and let me watch him do it.”
Practice what you preach and set an example for your kids. Here is where hypocrisy takes center stage. You can’t warn your kids about the dangers of smoking if you smoke yourself.
I know of fathers in my generation, who experienced an unhappy childhood, doing the exact same thing that their father did to them, or to their mother. We all have at one time experienced grief as children, seen that odd behavior by parents.
Their demeanor at that time may have been acceptable however, in the past 20 years, the world has changed, no one in my generation, where we go to school and universities and go through hundreds of educational books, and we are “the best in our field” yet I have seen my generation, do things which they know is unacceptable, immoral, against all social norms, and even against their own words and beliefs, all in the name of “My Life…my Choice”. I question you – why did you give life to another, why did you not stay with your bad old habits, why did you for a phase in your life chose to be a good person, then you went back to your old immoral habits. The answer perhaps would be “God Gave me the GIFT OF CHOICE.” God also gave you a brain to think – or are you just plain simple stupid. How can one commit an act which he knew and believed so strongly that it’s wrong on all levels.
There is no need for you to be defined by your past. Don’t use your past experiences as an excuse for your wrong behavior.
No matter what happened to you, you survived, you became a better person, but was that only for a certain phase in your life? If you were able to to better yourself, then why go back to being a bad parent. Choose to be a better parent to your kids than what was given to you. Be the parent you wish you had. (If you were lucky enough to have great parents who gave you something good to model, then count your blessings.) But even good parents make mistakes. None of us are perfect and we can always try to do better with our own kids.
If you experienced abandonment, neglect or indifference, you don’t want to repeat those hurtful behaviors on your own children. If you suffered with a parent who raged, who had problems with alcohol, or adultery, you shouldn’t pass that suffering on to the next generation.
It is easy to think that because you were wronged, it excuses your own bad behavior or seeming inability to stop the cycle. But there is no excuse for doing to your kids what was done to you. You must stop the patterns and be a better parent than that. Of course this is easier said than done. There are many degrees and types of unhappy childhood with repercussions ranging from dysfunctional to debilitating, and you must determine and seek the level of help you need to heal and move on. Do whatever it takes.
Unless you want to repeat the mistakes that your father made on you, you must break the cycle and say to your own children, “The buck stops here, it stops with me” – not use this as “a curse on your family” and do something that your own children would be ashamed of you. You can be proud of your children, however, ask yourself if your children are proud of you?
You must make a conscious and educated choice to put your past where it belong – in the past.
If you think you are not being watched, consider the following by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan:
Kids may or may not listen to your words, but they always pay attention to your actions. The best quality of a role model that you can have is to walk your walk and talk your talk, or you will be considered a hypocrite and can be seen as a liar.
Anything less just doesn’t cut it.
Posted: 07 July 2013