We had the pleasure of having a friend over on Sunday. He has a wonderful inquiring mind and a deep philosophical approach to life. Hours flew by and saying good bye was hard as he is to return to his home on an island far away the next day.
One of the many talking points that day was around the question, ” in the first year of a baby’s life, who learns more, the baby or the parents?” The answer was easy is for us as we have 4 children and we loudly replied that the first year is a steep learning curve for us, the parents. In fact each time is challenging as the children are so different from one another. One needed more than one pacifier in each hand to fall asleep. One liked music to be played. One would only sleep when I carried her. One needed absolute silence. Each time was a new learning experience. Once we had come to the agreement that it is the parents that learn the most, the next premise arose.
How is it that the baby can teach us when it is not teaching us. It is not speaking, but through laughing, crying, sleeping and clenched fists, they are able to communicate their needs and comfort to us. They are teaching us through situational awareness and body language. We to, are teaching others when we are not teaching. When we display irritation, huffing and sighing, rolling of eyes, smiling, folding of arms, these are all signals of agreement or disdain. We are teaching when is it ok to be happy and when one should be angry. The thing is that we do not all have the same likes and dislikes. Surely we should be more mindful of what we permit or sanction. We teach others by not compromising our values, by making a stand for what is right, morally and ethically. Often a simple “no” speaks volumes regarding a certain question or situation. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that it is only when you a have a 30 minute discourse and explanation, that it is then that you are teaching.
Research is good, but example is great. “Do as I say and not as I do” most certainly does not work. Your children and everyone else for that matter, watch more than they listen. For all the warnings and disclaimers on TV and other media, we still choose to follow what we see. Even when we know that the people we are mimicking are only acting, we still try to be like them. I am definitely not encouraging us to be false or to pretend, no. It is good to acknowledge your emotions, embrace them. But emotions should not rule or govern our thinking and actions. Take a moment to consider the “message” you are broadcasting when you are not speaking, it will be louder than your words.
Even when I am not teaching, I am teaching.