"No man ever really finds out what he believes in until he begins to instruct his children." Francis Xavier
A famous Mason and his son specialized in building Castles. One day, while at work on a Castle, they found that there was no mortar left for placing the last stone in the foundation. So the father asked the son to prepare a suitable quantity of mortar. The son told his father that there was stock of mortar meant for the walls, which they could use for the foundation. The father explained that the two were different; the one for the foundation had to be much stronger. The boy reasoned: what difference would it really make to that one stone in the foundation; no one would ever know in a 1000 years of the switch in the mortar. The father replied: Two people would know; you and I.
Some parents are careful to reinforce their words with action. Others are not that conscious. For them double standards do not pose a serious problem.
* "Simon, why is your room in such a mess?" That is dad's vexed question to his son.
Change scene; enter dad's room which is untidy and disorganized.
* "Cindy, put your toys back. They should not be out of place." That is how mummy
admonishes her daughter. Survey some of mummy's actions: her bag is still on the
carpet; her footwear under the dinning table.
* "When you have to do something important, always make a note", is mummy's advice
to her teenage daughter. Mummy was to make the Insurance Payment on the 7th. She
remembered only on the 9th. Did she make a note?
* "Why are you not regular in doing your exercise?" That was dad's enquiry of his
son who turned 18 last week. After many failed attempts to get started on a
walk-schedule, dad restarted on Monday. Today is Thursday and Junior did not see
dad go out for his walk on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Parents are eager to advise their children; which is good. The flip side is that they fail to keep those words, where they are concerned.As in many other situations,
we accuse others of the very sins we are guilty of. Put differently: `one rule for
others; another for us'. No wonder children ignore parental instructions and disregard their advice with impunity. And parents wonder what went wrong. If parents cannot live the life they want their children to live, they forfeit the right to counsel them.
A Japanese Proverb reads: `The parents' dishonour is their child's, and the child's dishonour is his parents' '. The belief of `guilt by association' is firmly lodged in the Japanese psyche. So, when children are guilty of serious misconduct, parents who are celebrities have to apologize in public for the wrong doing of their children. In the same way, children feel humiliated when parents are guilty of major lapses or crime. If the rest of the world learned from the Japanese Proverb, parents would be careful to back their good words with good deeds, and not give children reason to accuse them of double standards or make parental behaviour an excuse for juvenile deviant behaviour. The parent-child bond is cemented with self-sacrifice; which is sacrificing self to live up to high standards.