Leading by Example: Why it's Important, and our Tips to do it Effectively
It was getting to the middle of the year and Abbey seemed to become more apathetic every day. She was doing her homework, but not much else. She seemed really bored and just wanted to sit on the couch, watch TV, and be left alone. When asked, Abbey responded with a shrug of indifference.
Her mother considered the possible causes. Abbey might be tired from all of the work she has been doing, but the homework load didn’t seem that heavy recently, certainly not difficult enough to warrant this level of disinterest. She might be needing space as she tries to develop her own identity apart from her family, but she wasn’t really reaching out to her friends or trying anything new.
Then, when sitting around the dinner table, her mom realized, it wasn’t just Abbey, everyone in the family was bored. They had been doing the same things with the same schedules for the whole year.
Everyone was just... uninspired.
Finding inspiration, even for yourself, is not easy, let alone inspiring your child. The good news is, while not easy, it is a simple thing to change. You can reinvigorate your life and your child more rapidly than you would think. First, remember you are already a role model to your child. People imitate, consciously or unconsciously, what they see around them. That’s why we pay so much attention to the friends our children choose. You are one of the people who is around your child the most, so it is natural that she imitates you. To give her a good example to copy is a little bit harder.
Don’t panic! You have made it through life this far, so you are doing something right. She is probably doing similar things which will help her later on in her life. Still, there may be certain areas and values you want to work on, rejuvenate, and emphasize.
How do you do that without wagging your finger and giving a lecture? Try coming alongside your child and leading the way in a new direction. That is what it means to be a role model, after all.
Here are three areas in which most parents would like their children to be successful and ways you can facilitate growth together.
Setting and Reaching Goals
Achieving goals is definitely something you want your children to know how to do. So how do you help them learn?
Joining them in the process is the best way. But perhaps you don’t really know much about how to achieve goals either. Read on!
Most people think about goals as big, flashy achievements that you celebrate with a party. Some goals are certainly like that, but most goals are small quiet steps forward, consistently over time, that take you where you want to go. Even those big, flashy goals have to be broken down into parts and those parts into smaller pieces until they become something possible to reach.
So, start small. Maybe even so small that only you notice. If you and your child are taking your own small steps forward, you are improving by that much every day or every week. Eventually small steps cover
great distances until the difference in you both is impossible to ignore. The idea is to be patient while you are going through the process.
This may be one of the hardest things to model. However, there are many strategies that make it easier. Find methods, tricks, and techniques to get yourself and your child where you want to go. Find what works for you and persist so you can encourage your child as she is struggling to go through the same goal-achieving process.
Bodies change and it’s weird. You are suddenly longer, taller, and have different shapes in different places. It’s not surprising that this process is can be accompanied by embarrassment and insecurity. Many look on their new bodies with dissatisfaction, thinking this or that should be different.
If a physical issue is a matter of health, that is something you can do something about. Knowing how to take of her health is very helpful for a child to learn. Health steps can be taken as a family via cooking new meals and taking walks together. If the discontent is connected to genetics, that is a more difficult challenge. Teaching your child to respect and appreciate her body is a valuable lesson that isn’t easy to impart. Probably, there is a certain part of her body she wishes she could change. You may even share that same physical trait.
All body shapes have advantages to go with their disadvantages. Find other people or celebrities with similar body structures and see how they make their bodies work for them. New clothes specifically chosen to complement your child’s body type can help with confidence too. You can also look for situations where that specifically disliked body part works well and share that with your child. Even better, find an activity where that (formerly) disliked body part shines and makes things easier. Try out this activity with your child and discover what you both are capable of together!
School can sometimes feel like a battle. The pressure of grades and complicated social situations might make what should be a beautiful place of learning a bit less fun to go to every morning. If learning gets too strongly associated with negative feelings, your child might start to think learning itself is bad.
But learning is wonderful! Discovering how different elements work together, the ways we use what we learn, finding solutions to problems, all of it is fascinating! Imparting a love of learning to your children will help them continue to move forward, grow, and be better prepared to solve the challenges that confront them. It’s exciting!
It’s the same for you as an adult. Does your child see that learning doesn’t stop when you leave school? Does she know what you are curious about and exploring these days? Develop a habit of curiosity and let it lead you in new directions. Sometimes the result might be as small as a new and interesting topic for the dinner table. Other times, you may have enough enthusiasm about a subject to do some research and take a class. You might even end up cultivating a new hobby. When you find learning fun and you engage in it daily or weekly, it communicates that value to your child.
If you find you need some help in inspiring a love of learning in your child, Spark Tutors can come alongside you both and help! We work hard to make school and homework a delightful opportunity to unearth something new and interesting. Overcoming challenging concepts, stumbling upon a surprising
connection, and expanding a student’s academic comprehension are things we like to do, and we find they make learning fun and exciting.
Finding ways to press forward in areas of importance not only makes your life better, but it can inspire your children to do the same. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your life is one you are excited to live. Setting this example makes your children aware of how wonderful life is and results in wonderful lives of their own if they follow you. Now that’s a great role model!
It's our hope that this article gave you some inspiration of your own as well as some direction for how to be a good role model. Remember, small steps taken consistently make the most difference. We’ll see you at the tutoring table!