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“It is difficult to bring people to goodness with lessons, but it is easy to do so by example.” —Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I was recently pondering the idea of how we teach students best, but as well how we move any person at any age to act. Seneca’s quote crossed my path and gave me pause.
Often when we are inspired by another’s actions, life or journey, the one who inspires may not be aware of their influence. Often the influencer is merely going about their life, and doing so sincerely, with zeal and absolute curiosity and devotion to how they live their life. Consequently, that is what makes their influence magnetic.
We can tell, we can lecture, we can dictate, and as a parent, yes, even a teacher, we may have to do this at times for the safety and benefit of the child to arrive at the best situation to then make their own choices in life when they are able, and as an adult, we will need, at times, to set boundaries and strong determinations of what behavior will be accepted toward and onto us and what absolutely will not.
When we examine our own life and how or by whom we were influenced, similar to the unconscious influence by the influence, we too may not have known we were influenced to make certain decisions in our life or gravitate toward a particular way of living until we pause and reflect. Often it happens in hindsight when we have more objectivity and distance that we realize societal influences and the individuals and their lives and how they have inspired us to act or think or strive.
All of which brings me back to above quote.
If we do not know who or when we influence others, it would be sagacious to model goodness, to model kind sincerity, as well as self-respect and civil engagement with those we align with in thought and those we do not. These are just a handful of actions and characteristics to put into practice and habituate into our daily lives. Mind you, we will slip, we will make errors, but we can return to the path we wish to practice, and in the mistake-making, we grow and we learn how to apologize with grace which as well is modeling a behavior worth emulating.
SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
How to Live a Courageous Life, episode #31
5 Ways to Live an Examined Life, episode #10