I was listening to a conversation yesterday between Dr. Herby Bell and Dean Dauphinais, two awesome men and fathers actively committed to educating and inspiring parents and families dealing with addiction.
“Be the change you want to see in your son.”
What a powerful statement. As parents, we give direction to our children in many areas, including the perils of drug use. How cognizant are you, of the unintentional examples you may be setting through your behaviors in relation to your directives?
In this podcast, Dean shares the wake-up call he received through a conversation with his son’s therapist as his son was in his recovery program. The therapist reminds Dean that although he is encouraging his son to embrace sobriety, coming home after a stress filled day and self-medicating with a glass of wine or a stiff drink is not the example he needs to be setting. I am not saying or encouraging that we not drink if we are going to send a clear message about the perils of drugs or alchohol; however, we need to be aware of our responsibilities as parents for our behaviors and how they inspire or influence our children in the manner we encourage and expect them to live. Our we teaching and demonstrating the examples of behavior we expect from them?
In his book, “Beyond the Yellow Brick Road” author Bob Meehan reminds us that as adults our ability to influence our children diminishes as they transcend into adolescence. Anyone with an teenage child already knows this all too well. The reason we lose our credibility is that adolescents begin to trust their friends and the media more, partly because they way they romance or simplify complex realities; but, they also start to discover and realize on their own the inconsistencies and double standards of behavior that many adults — moms, dads, teachers, relatives — apply to their own lives. In the adolescent experience, adults exemplify behaviors demonstrating every rule has its exceptions. Preaching one standard and living another teaches that the rules are subject to interpretation and breaking or bending them is acceptable or justifiable.
Bottom line, whatever you desire to see exuded in the behaviors of those around you and those you love, are best imitated when you take the lead in exuding those behaviors first. Be the change you want to see in others.