I believe language and words to be among the most powerful tools anyone could ever possibly wield. Even though words can inspire or condemn, they can never be the only thing people need. Our loved ones, our closest friends, our spouses, and especially our children do not need fancy words from us; they need an example.
There is simply no way to deny the power of action, not just in our life, but in the lives of others around us. Action is the first tool used to display an idea’s effect, or the lack of action can immediately cause its dismissal. If someone says “we need to do something” the very first thing everyone will be looking for is whether or not the narrator is “doing” something themselves.
You see words by themselves are meaningless. It is the actions they inspire which give words their power. More so, an action without a word spoken can still inspire others to take similar action themselves.
Imagine standing in a large mess of some kind. If you look around and voice “this needs to be cleaned up” how much do you think will get accomplished by others around you? However, if you chose to say “We need to clean this up,” and then you start moving debris to the trash what kind of result will that have on everyone else? In fact, if you said nothing at all and just started cleaning it is possible you may end up getting some help without a word spoken.
You see action speaks, in fact, it shouts!
If you looked at someone and said “you need to clean this mess,” then even if you do get a response it is usually with a large number of resentments. Instead, maybe you start cleaning, and look at someone choosing not to work and then sarcastically state, “No, no, do not burden yourself. I will take care of everything,” the shame is immediate, and it can usually invoke an action from them.
It may not even matter what words we use; it is our actions seen by others which will be “heard.”
there is no relationship where this more relevant than with our children.
Kids are not stupid, in fact, they may be the most observant creatures on the planet. They are not only listening to what we tell them, but they are watching what we do. When our words do not match our actions, we are showing them that hypocrisy is acceptable and ordinary. When we tell our children to “clean-up their room” but our room has an unmade bed, laundry lying around, and some dishes sitting on the night stand from a late night snack; they see that.
If we tell a child to clean their room, and then they say “I did” imagine how much more effective a tool it is to walk them (right then and there) into your room. They see the floor picked up, clothes put away, bed made, and everything in its place; what kind of statement will that make to them. If they wanted to argue against cleaning their room, you have already removed all the power of their argument.
However, if we tell them to tidy their room, and they just walk over to ours, open the door and gesture inside to chaos; well, you gave them all they needed to undermine your authority. More so, it is not your child’s fault. You gave them all the ammunition needed.
This principle applies to every element of our life. It is the very core concept of hypocrisy and is probably the hardest obstacle to overcome.
I am reminded of an old saying I heard at a young age. It stated, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I do not believe this statement completely. I will however bet that if given five seconds, you could think of at least two people in your life who already model the phrase. Even scarier, if you removed pride from the equation, I would venture you can find some element of your life where the statement can also be proven true.
“Actions speak louder than words!”
Scary how true this is and yet so many people today, even those who understand and agree with it, still choose not to use the logic it preaches.
I will put a challenge to you, and yes it is one I am accepting myself as well. I am fully aware that no one can be perfect, but I think we should try our best to reach for perfection every day. I think if we spend more time worrying about our actions and using them to be our voice, we will see many of the people around us begin to do the same. If I fall short, then I will apologize, forgive myself for being an imperfect human, and get right back to giving it my best shot. How about you? Will you accept this challenge with me?
Today, and for the rest of the foreseeable future, why not strive to be and do the things that will have the most effect in life? Who knows, maybe we can be the generation who takes back our society and turns it into one of ACTION; or if you prefer then go back to your App Game, and enjoy the next TV series of whatever it is keeping you from accomplishing… well, anything.