“How many times do I want to tell you? Don’t speak with your mouthful!”
And, as we utter these words, we quickly shift the food in our mouths to the deepest recesses of our cheeks so as not to eliminate any of it.
“Slow down and chew, do you?”
We state since we gulp down another mouthful of food which managed to get out of our fork into our gullet with our barely noticing it, or tasting it.
We utter as we sink gratefully on the sofa and turn the TV or radio.
“No, you’re not having ice cream, you know that sweet things are bad for you.”
“It will not hurt you to walk. I used to have to walk much longer when I was your age.”
As we plan our errands with the automobile to consume the least of our precious free time as possible.
We are so good at giving advice, indeed, we’re masters at it. It is our job as responsible parents and responsible adults to fix and improve the manners of those younger than us (or equal to us, or elderly to us). It’s our mission, our driving energy, Stuart Raccoon Removal, our right, our duty.
Yes, it is very important that we direct and help others along the way, particularly our children or dependents. The more you live as a role model, the less likely you are to be caught out.
And children, especially, catch on soon. I was living a ‘do as I say, but maybe not as I do’ about a year and a half ago with my daughter. I told her she could not have any chocolate, that sweet things all of the time weren’t great for her, that she could have some fruit if she was hungry. She left the kitchen and I reached for the chocolate jar. A moment later, as I was savoring the minty chocolate in my mouth, I felt small eyes… And had to think of an explanation, quickly. So I started practicing what I preach too.
Since then, I’ve been watching my speech (verbal and non-verbal) and made sure that, as far as possible, I don’t send out conflicting messages. The hardest part? These ‘little white lies’ which people use every day. Sure, the odd one still slips out, but the majority of the time that I say things which can’t be replicated at a time or place which will have me standing in complete mortification.
It is difficult work and requires changing and breaking habits, but the earlier you begin practicing what you preach, the sooner the message will come across as sincere and one to be followed, rather than you to be obtained around one way or another or spoken out of half truths (or half lies).
Maybe your kids won’t thank you for it, but soon you’ll be thanking yourselves for this.