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Posted on 2013.06.07 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114
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I remember when my son was born. I was mortified at the thought of raising him to be confident and polite. I mentioned this to my Allstate agent's wife in Irving, TX who replied, "Oh, that's the easy part." I was shocked she could so easily dismiss my distress, yet with two grown boys of her own, I assumed she knew a trick - she did, and I have found it to be some of the most useful advice I've ever received:

Live your life as an example to how you want them to live theirs.

Simplistic, and effective. Leading by example over the DO-AS-I-SAY-NOT-AS-I-DO of old returns real, actionable results. I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.

It can be a struggle sometimes, to exude the behavior you want others to see when you aren't in the mood to do so, but imagining the catastrophic results of not doing so is usually fair motivation to continue. The wonderful part is how easy it becomes with just a little practice - always doing the right thing becomes an addictive game - leading you to always do the right thing. This is how the whole "mood" thing is overcome; it becomes habit. When your default action is to always do the right thing/behave the right way, its no longer dependent upon how you feel - and this reaches far past your children and becomes something everyone can see.


michelle1963 at 2013-06-07 12:29 (UTC) (Link)
Interestingly enough, I was having a similar conversation with a coworker - not about modeling proper behavior for children, but about always behaving well yourself. I was interested in her viewpoint, which surprisingly matched my own.

Why surprisingly?

Well, I am rather laid back, so I don't have near as many strong emotions with which to contend. My coworker is a high strung type A, who also has a lot of personal issues with which she is contending (a mother with Alzheimer's and an ill brother for whom she has responsibility). She can't hide her tenseness, which is evident in the way she walks, but no matter, she is always, polite, helpful, kind, and patient. In our conversation, she made it very clear that she often feels frustration and sometimes anger, but she believes it is inappropriate and counter-productive to inflict those emotions on others. And it's not that she is "pretending" not to feel those things and faking it in her interactions with others. It's just that her firm belief in doing the right thing outweighs whatever she may be feeling at the moment - and that becomes the prevailing emotion - the desire to do the right thing.

Having the conversation with her enlightened me about my own thought / emotional processes. It's not that I never feel negative emotions, but treating people well - especially the people I love - is far more important to me than expressing , and inflicting, those negative emotions on others. I would almost say it is a matter of honor and pride.

I will NEVER understand the mentality that believes its okay to inflict your most vile mood on those you love, because they love you and will tolerate it.

Edited at 2013-06-07 12:31 pm (UTC)
suzanne1945 at 2013-06-07 13:28 (UTC) (Link)
Anyone needing motivation to behave well, should think of behavior as a mirror. The behavior you exhibit is often reflected back to you. From a truly selfish perspective, if you want to be respected, cared about, and treated politely, then showing those attributes to others will often be returned if that is how you behave. And in reverse, putting out negativity, then negative reactions are what you will receive. Will good behavior always result in 100% return? No, but the odds are hugely increased.
jobu121 at 2013-06-07 19:31 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I must say that when I was a child my father once told me one Saturday morning, Do-As-I-Do-Not-As-I-Say, now go clean up your room! I remained on the couch as he did and he looked at me sternly and asked what did I say? I repeated you stated, Do-As-I-Do-Not-As-I-Say, so I am lounging as you are. At first he got an angered look on his face then realized what he had said. Of course, he rebutle to that was, "You know what I meant!" We shared a laugh and I reluctently cleaned my room.

Now the problem with my son is, yes, he is too much like me. And my wife always tells me not to get mad because he is you! Sadly, he also shares my smart-ass type behaivor. I at times look at him cross then realize that is something I would have said. So all I can do is laugh - HAHAHAHAHAHA

Edited at 2013-06-07 07:31 pm (UTC)
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