Leading By Example: More is Caught than Taught

Leading By Example: More is Caught than Taught

I am a teacher through and through. I seek out teachable moments like Indiana Jones sought the Holy Grail. However, one thing I have learned as a teacher is that simply saying something doesn’t mean it will stick. Kids need to touch and do, witness and see to truly internalize a lesson. 

They are Always Watching You

I have also noticed the way students are far more attentive to my subtle side comments than they are to my formally-planned lessons. After fifteen minutes of blank stares (on a good day), it is a breath of fresh air to watch students lean in closer to hear comments I give to a student one on one. It is also a wake-up call when I catch myself accidentally looking at my computer while addressing a question. 

Children are Natural-Born Learners.

They are soaking up all we say and do, and their brains are choosing what to keep and what to discard based on what they learn. Because of this, I believe more is caught than taught. So, it is vital for me to apply the concepts I hope to impart to my children and students to my own life. 

These lessons range from food choices to friend choices. I fall short frequently, but my goal is to be extra intentional with my actions and words in a few specific areas.

My battle on any given day looks a little like this:

  • “Eat your veggies,” I say. But, my own carb-filled plate lacks color, and I can often be found sneaking to the kitchen for a treat.
  •  “Give. Save. Spend; that’s the order you should approach money management.” Sounds like good advice, but, for some reason, Amazon is open on my browser again…
  • “Only say something if it is true, kind, or necessary.” Words to live by. But, surely the 4-year-old who doesn’t miss a beat won’t notice how I left out a few important details about why we were running late…right? Am I applying the kind and necessary part of that phrase to the way I talk about myself, too? 
  • “Move with purpose, please.” Still, I can often be spotted dawdling about when I should be moving towards the door purposefully. 

Moms, the pressure we put on ourselves to perform faultlessly can also be caught by our kiddos. Before I respond, grumble, or even sigh, I try to ask myself if what is about to come out of my mouth is what I want to be repeated back to me.

I want my children to:

  • Carry themselves with confidence.
  • Learn from their mistakes.
  • Persevere when things aren’t easy.
  • Admit when they have wronged someone and seek restoration.

This concept goes by many names: Monkey-see monkey-do, practice what you preach, actions speak louder than words, etc. When it comes to children learning from their parents, more is caught than taught. I want to make sure what I throwing at my kids is worth catching. 

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2 Responses to Leading By Example: More is Caught than Taught

  1. Leslie Hurst Kimble March 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

    OUCH!! convicted.

  2. Tanya Stevens March 8, 2018 at 10:41 pm #

    Love this. So very true.

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