I have written a lot about teaching by example.
It is the most powerful way we can educate and inspire our kids.
If we want to impart certain values, qualities and attitudes to them
they will pick these up more from what we do
than from anything we might say.
In thinking deeply about teaching by example
we can see that it is actually quite an involved activity.
Over the next little while I will write a few blog posts
that address this issue because
I would like to share what I have learned about it.
One of the main things
that children learn by observing us
is how to treat people.
There are four main categories to this important skill.
1. How you treat yourself.
2. How you treat your kids.
3. In a more than single parent family, how you treat each other.
4. How you treat others outside the family.
1. Treat Yourself Well
I put how you treat yourself first
because our children can feel
the relationship we have with ourselves.
If we are very loving, kind and patient with ourselves
they quickly learn to treat themselves this way as well.
If we eat well, meditate and do things that we love
and if our kids witness this on a consistent basis,
they grow up with this very positive model
for how they should treat themselves.
If on the other hand we are overly critical with ourselves,
if we put ourselves down
and ignore our own needs
this then is the legacy of self-treatment
that we pass on to our kids.
Therefore it is worth the time and effort it takes
to really be good to yourself,
to do a lot of inner work,
including healing old wounds and trauma.
2. Treat Your Kids With An Uncommon Level Of Kindness And Respect
How we treat our kids is the most obvious of the four categories.
When we treat them with kindness, patience and respect
They learn that this is how they
deserve to be treated and also how to treat others.
If they are used to being treated with respect
it is a natural extension to treat others this way as well.
If you want more detail about different ways
to treat your kids with more and more respect
you can pretty much browse through any of my blog posts
as I have written pages and pages about this over the past year.
Here is a good one to get you started
3. How You Treat Your Partner Sets The Tone For Your Children’s Future Relationships
The most consistent interaction our kids will witness,
especially in the early years, is with our partners.
The way you treat each other informs them
on the nature of adult relationships.
This is where learning to communicate well,
have compassion and
respecting each other’s perspectives
becomes so vitally important.
4. Treat Everyone With The Respect You Want Reflected In Your Home
Finally the way we treat other people
outside the family has a profound impact upon our kids.
How do you treat strangers?
How do you treat people at work?
How do you treat the cashier at the grocery store?
How do you treat other members
of your family and your friends?
All of these are opportunities to
teach powerful qualities and positive relationship patterns.
Harmonize The Four Categories
Once we are aware of these four categories
we can then put work into each of them.
The best that we can offer our kids is
when there is a harmony in all four of these interactions.
If the way you treat yourself reflects how you treat your kids
and the way you treat your kids reflects how you treat your partner
and the way you treat your partner reflects how you treat strangers
then the message your kids receive is consistent.
It’s Especially Hard To Be Kind And Loving To Ourselves
For many people being equally loving and compassionate
to themselves as they are to others is very difficult.
Yet when we are able to be extremely loving and kind
to ourselves, that love will leak out all over the place.
Take a Personal Inventory
So take the time to review the four categories in your life.
Look deeply at where they are consistent or inconsistent
with each other,
with your core values
and with the values you wish to impart to your children.
Then think about how you can
increase the level of consistency across the board.
Achieving Inner Harmony and Consistency is a Full-Time Occupation
This is not something you will achieve instantly
just by thinking about it,
it really is a lifelong effort.
It is a full time project.
Just by engaging in the project however
you will uplift yourself,
uplift your family and
everyone with whom you interact.