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Published:August 26th, 2009 15:05 EST
Training Children (continued)  Setting the right example

Training Children (continued) Setting the right example

By Ignatius Fernandez

Parents default when they overemphasize their careers and pastimes. That is one reason they are seen as the `problem`. There are other reasons why parents are discredited. If a trainer does not practise what he delivers as precept, his trainees will soon desert him. If parents are a bad example, children will soon lose respect for them and flout their instructions.

Conscious of the importance of guidelines, Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1952), a genius and an action-Christian, laid down one basic rule: "Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing". Example is like a burning candle, lighting many other candles, without losing its brilliance. It is the most valuable gift parents can give children.

Will a son respect and obey his father, who exhorts him to be honest, when he himself will not give up his dishonest ways? Will a daughter admire and be drawn to her mother who chides her for not being discreet and guarded in her speech, when she herself is talkative, constantly faulting others? Children would rather observe and imitate what they see, than follow what they hear.

In Luke 17:2, Jesus sternly warned those who were a bad example to children. He said that it would be better for such people to have a millstone hung around their necks and be thrown into the sea. Parents ought to heed the words of Jesus. Those who insist that children should obey the fourth commandment, by honouring them, should make a greater effort to be worthy of that honour.

When they are not a good example, they forfeit that claim. It does not mean that parents have to be perfect. As long as children see them as heaven-looking, down-to-earth Role Models, they would have lived the code.

Timeless advice comes to us from Eda Leshan, a Psychologist: "The only way to raise a decent human being is by being one". She is in agreement with Albert Schweitzer. Great minds think alike, is not a cliché. There is truth in it.

Training Children: Do It Now