Teaching by Example
- what we tell other people, they listen to and understand,
- BUT what we SHOW them… they BELIEVE (i.e. not a motto or affirmation to “say” or “repeat”, BUT a model to “see” and follow).
The world (i.e. modern day societies) requires that individuals are educated and well trained, which would allow them to efficiently deal and cope with modern day demands, requirements and challenges. Sadly though, most people's perception of education and/or training are inter locked to being in school, at varsity, following a course, college, …etc., and they frequently “stop learning” as soon as they “graduate”, or sometimes even before they graduate! Especially, when it seems that “learning” do not really correspond to what they expect to gain from their learning experience. However, “stop to learn” is more of a conscious choice, because learning (on subconscious and unconscious levels of awareness) continue till the day of our “death”… whether we like/want/belief it or not!
Most important, we should teach… by example… others the consequences of their actions. We should make them acutely aware of the impact they have on others and their environments through their interactions. Don't let people slip into an “ignorant mode”, thinking that their actions don't make a difference or doesn't matter at all. The actions of people do matter… no matter how insignificant it may appear to be (i.e. the importance of the butterfly effect).
Constantly emphasize the fact that it's the “small” decisions (sometimes viewed as unimportant) and “small” actions (sometimes regarded as insignificant) that have far-reaching consequences in the end. Consider the daffodil principle as an example in this regard.
One of the best ways to ensure that individuals develop a healthy and balanced self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, locus of control and adequate self-determination, is to SHOW them that their decisions and actions - consistently made and acted on - does make a major difference, to someone, something, …somewhere.
How can this be done?
Demonstrate to people what's possible by setting an example yourself. Demonstrate to them the positive effect of asking the right kind of questions, setting goals, selecting a strategy, constantly progress, collect, digest and assimilate information, structure ideas, ..etc. and - in doing so YOURSELF - apply all the skills, mechanisms and techniques that you've mastered throughout your life.
There are so many ways that we - as humans - could actually make a difference by our contributions. We don't need to wait until we have a grandiose master plan to make a difference. We can have an impact in a moment, when doing the smallest things… by making - what often seems like - “insignificant” decisions and by taking “unnoticeable” actions.
It's true that most of the persons that actually make a lasting difference (i.e. heroes) are frequently concealed beneath a layer of what can be regarded as small acts done consistently. Take a “good and hard” look around. There are plenty of heroes everywhere, but we don't really “see” them with the distinction that they really deserve for doing their jobs each and every day. The men and women who work day in and day out as police officers are clearly heroes. They protect us, they create for us a sense of security; yet many of us tend to regard them as our enemy. Firemen are heroes, yet we generally don't see them in that light, unless we find ourselves in an emergency. The same principle holds true for ambulance drivers, 10111 emergency dispatchers, crisis-intervention counselors, teachers and a whole “long list” of other unsung heroes.
Another “dimension” of teaching by example is SHOWING individual that just by being prepared (i.e. proactive) for the unexpected, can make all the difference in times of a crisis. For example…
- How would you feel if someone had a heart attack in your presence, and you are CPR-certified and knew what to do?
- What if your concerted efforts to keep their blood circulating going - despite the apparent absence of any signs of life - actually resulted in saving a life?
One thing can be promised for sure… the personal satisfaction that one experience when CONTRIBUTING and making a real difference, would provide him/her with a greater sense of fulfillment and joy, more than anything s/he ever felt in his/her life before… greater than any acknowledgement anyone could possibly give, greater than any amount of money one could possibly earn or greater than any achievement one could possibly have. Thus, the essential issue here is, it isn't only our ability to respond… but also our PREPAREDNESS to take action!
The above is quite a dramatic example. There are a great deal of other ways in which one could contribute to make a difference. You can be a hero by simply being a climate-builder - that is - by noticing people around you and give them support, encouragement, advice or a reminder of whom they really are (just keep in mind that honest positive reinforcement is always a much better approach, than actually “telling them” the truth).
What if you are walking through a grocery store, and instead of wandering aimlessly from the bread to the butter, you actually noticed and acknowledged each person you passed with a cheerful grin? What if you gave a sincere compliment to a stranger?
Could you - in that moment - change their emotional state enough so that they could pass on the smile or the compliment to the next person they encounter? Perhaps to their children? Could there be a processional effect set in motion by that one action? Yes! Will you see the result? No! But hey, what does it really matter… we would feel a whole lot better knowing that we have contributed something that might make this planet a more hospitable human-friendly environment and nicer place to live. There are so many simple ways to make a difference. We don't have to go out and save somebody's life. But maybe getting them to smile, is saving their emotional life, or at least getting them to enjoy the life that they already have.
What are some of the simple things that we could do to make a difference TODAY?
Put on the “thinking cap” and one is sure to identify many, many possibilities. For example…
- On our way home from work, what if you decided to stop at a senior citizen's home, walk in and strike up a conversation?
- How would it make somebody feel if you were to ask, “What are some of the most important lessons you've learned in your life?”
You can bet your bottom dollar that they'd have plenty to tell you! What if you stopped at your community hospital, visited a patient and help brighten his/her afternoon? Even if you did nothing else, but to listen to the person… you'd be a hero.
Why are so many people afraid to take such small steps to help others?
One of the most common reasons is, that we are just plain embarrassed to be doing something we are unsure about. We regard interference without an “invitation” or “a good enough reason”, as impolite and intruding on the privacy of the other person. We are afraid of being rejected or appearing foolish. But do you know what? When you want to play the winning game of changing attitudes, you've got to play “full out”. You've got to be willing to feel stupid, and you've got to be willing to try things that might not work (i.e. take a risk) and - when it don't work - be willing to learn your lessons and change your approach. Otherwise, how could you…
- be innovate?
- be creative?
- able to grow?
- discover who you really are?
- set an example for others to follow?
Maybe the example that we set and our guts to contribute (by being proactive through preparedness) without being forced by circumstances (i.e. being reactive), wouldn't go down in history as something extraordinary, which miraculously has changed the world. BUT that we are going to make a difference is fore sure and - perhaps - could even set in motion some forces that could completely change present circumstances …and who knows… the circumstances of those around us and …maybe, just maybe, the existence for all on this planet. Again, do not underestimate the potential and culminating effect of the chaos theory and the Butterfly Effect.
Our personal contribution to life… is setting an example for someone else to follow. WHY? …because through setting an example for others to follow it will…
- encourage learning and contextual understanding.
- promote sharing of knowledge, views, ideas and experiences.
- improve communication through listening and responding.
- deepens relationships on both a personal and professional level.