Choosing to Lead by Example
Monday November 25, 2019

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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.


12 thoughts on “Choosing to Lead by Example

  1. Shall I say yes? I recently became aware of my influence, as a mentor, to new nursing graduates. After heart surgery, my husband was exposed to and introduced to many nurses who crossed my path in my professional career. As they described to him what and how I mentored them, HE was amazed. Years and decades have passed since that time but these outstanding caregivers took their intelligence and natural talents to their best because of my influence and howI taught them to be professional. For that I am pleased. As you influence your students, day to day, you also create a foundation for them to live their lives. Some may spurn that help. For the others you define a better way, a better world.

    1. Cheryll, thank you very much for sharing your story. We truly have no idea of how far our influence reaches, and since since we will never be able know, all we can do is our best which is better than yesterday. Thank you for inspiring in such a wonderful way. ??

  2. Can I add that we don’t realise how early in our lives we begin to influence people. The most beautiful compliments I received were when two women at the school gates told me that they had chosen to name their baby girls after my daughter as ‘she is so genuine and caring and I hope my daughter grows to be like her’. My daughter was eight and ten years at the time. Best wishes from England, Sue.

    1. What a lovely tribute, Sue , you must have been so proud of your little daughter …………..and it is a lovely tribute to your parenting as well .

      Children learn by example , they absorb and reflect the behaviours and ways of communicating that they are exposed to daily , unconsciously , and how they treat others reflects this , even when they are very young and still learning how to ‘ be ‘ in the world.

      It’s so true that we may never know what a difference we have made to someone’s life………sometimes the smallest thing , like a smile , can change the course of someone’s day .
      It isn’t always the biggest things which make the most difference.

      If , like Cheryl, we discover years later what a difference we did make , what a beautiful blessing .

      When we throw our little pebbles into the ocean , the ripples travel far and wide , and we often never know their reach .

      A lovely reminder , Shannon , thank you .


  3. Yesterday a friend who lives 3000km away rang to tell me of the death of a much senior friend. We enjoyed bitter/sweet reminiscences of this lady. She always used a pretty china tea set & embroidered tablecloth when we shared afternoon tea, freshly baked hot scones (think you call them biscuits in USA), jam & cream. She taught us to embellish coat hangers so blouses, jumpers etc wouldn’t show hanger marks. Her actions taught not only us but numerous younger women about what you’d call ‘the simply luxurious life’.

    1. Commise, First, let me extend my condolences for the loss of your friend. What lovely and warm memories you have to hold onto. I appreciate your sharing. She lived thoughtfully and her kindness lives on in you. Thank you for your kind words. ?

  4. Indeed we don’t often know that we’re making a diffetence and might find out much later or not at all. I recently received a thank you letter from one of my student nurses whom I mentored to say that my encouragement helped her to have a great career and that she was now reluctantly retiring. I am humbled.

    1. What a lovely note to receive. Kameela, I have no doubt of her words. Her kindness, support and encouragement even just on this site via comments on a blog are greatly appreciated. Thank you for being such a positive part of TSLL community. 🙂

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