Choir Notes

The Power of Example
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4304

A young student sat at his desk, beaming as his teacher praised his perfect score in front of the rest of the class. But when the tests were handed back, he realized he had actually made a mistake and didn’t truly deserve his perfect grade. He debated with himself whether to tell the teacher or just let it go.

His conscience won out, and after class, he told the teacher. She was so impressed with his honesty that she let him keep his A+. That evening he told his mother of the inner battle he faced once he realized the error. He was so proud of his perfect score that he was tempted to remain quiet.

But then he remembered, a few months earlier, riding with his mother as she drove back to the grocery store to return a few coins the clerk had overpaid her by mistake. Once he remembered his mother’s act of integrity, the battle was over, and his decision was made.1

The way you live your life is the strongest sermon you will ever preach. Our children tend to repeat our actions whether we like it or not, just as a mirror reflects our smallest detail. If we want to change what we see in the mirror, our efforts are best spent not on trying to change the mirror but on improving ourselves. It follows, then, that if we’d like our children to be more courteous, patient, or selfless, we must strive to make sure those qualities are clearly visible in our own lives.

Of course children make their own choices — some of which seem to have no clear origin in their heredity or their upbringing. But it’s also true that the best advantage a child could ever have is the loving example of a parent who — though imperfect — is honestly striving to model virtuous living.

Someday someone may say to your children, "You’re just like your dad” or "just like your mom.” And if you’ve done your best to set a good example, it will be high praise indeed.

1 See Azriel Winnett, "When ‘Everybody Does It!’ Comes Back to Haunt You,” http://www.hodu.com/parenting-education.shtml.

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