Months before my daughters ever reached the ripe old age of one, they were already taking direction from me. I remember being amazed at the possibility. How could they so clearly understand what I was communicating without any knowledge of the English language?
This is possible because more than 90% of communication is accomplished non-verbally. My eyes, my hand gestures and the tone of my voice were sending signals to my daughters with greater impact than the words that left my lips. They were learning and following my instructions through their senses.
Throughout the teenage years and now into early adulthood, what I say to my daughters continues to be less significant than what I do. It’s called modeling; actions speaking louder than words.
Dr. Phil says this, “for better or worse, they observe, listen, learn and imitate your behaviors, your actions, your values, your beliefs and even your expressions. They watch what happens to you when you succeed or fail and those experiences become part of their reference files for how they live their own lives.”
So, as your child’s most influential role model, what are you modeling? You might want to ask yourself these questions.
- Am I modeling a life of passion and purpose?
- Is my approach to conflict resolution calm and reasonable or do I use anger to get what I want?
- Am I modeling high moral standards with my choice of entertainment, conversation or spare time?
- Do I model self-worth through excellent character qualities and internal strength or is my worth defined by social status, wealth or fame?
- Am I an example of someone who nurtures loving, supportive, genuine relationships or am I hypocritical, judgmental and critical of people behind their backs?
- Do I follow through on promises made and carry out my responsibilities diligently?
When it comes to parenting, the “do as I say, not as I do” approach never works. I encourage you, for the sake of those watching, get your act(ions) together.