Lead by Example

It is so very easy to tell someone not to do something and then you do that very same thing yourself. We have all done this at one time or another in our life. We tell our kids not to lie and then the phone rings and we tell them to tell the caller, We are in the shower. I can think of a lot of little illustrations that seem insignificant to us, but in the long run they are HUGE to the people watching us. You cannot tell your kids to be grateful if you never are. You cannot be an alcoholic and tell your kids that drinking is bad and they should not do it. You cannot get enraged and throw tantrums and then expect your kids to not throw fits. You cannot discipline with physical aggression and expect your kids to not become bullies. You cannot cheat in business dealings and then expect your kids to not cheat on tests. You cannot continually put your kids down and then expect them to have great self esteem. You cannot use fowl language and then expect your kids not to cuss. You may think your behaviors are justified because you are the adult, but we are ultimately responsible in guiding, grooming, and creating healthy adults out of our children.

A good analogy is this: When you are flying somewhere and the flight attendant is explaining how to administer the oxygen should there be a drop in cabin pressurehe or she explains that if you are traveling with a child, you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then assist your child with theirs. The connection is that if you are not healthy (You tell little white lies, you are addicted, you have a temper, you are physical, etc.) then you are not in the right place to help your child. You will be of no use if you are not healthy. How can you administer oxygen to your child if you are passed out? How can you expect your child to possess the qualities and characteristics you want them to have, if you do not possess them yourself? If you are telling your kids one thing and then doing another, it also promotes distrust. What kind of example are you setting?

Here is a great Bible verse that sums it up!

Titus 2:7-8 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.


We must not only tell our children these life rules. We need to live them ourselves and lead by example.

We can talk to our kids until we are blue in the face. But our kids will ultimately imitate our behavior. A lot of people try to lead by force, by controlling others with words, domination, humiliation, and threats. These tactics never work either. It will temporarily get people to do what you want them to do, but it does not generate lasting results. It does not instill love and respect, it instills fear. People in general rebel against fear. I am using our kids as the main example here, but leading by example is not limited to our kids. It encompasses everyone we interact with.

If you are feeling a pang of guilt right now, there may be an area where you need to do some work. Guilt is almost at the bottom of The Emotional Guidance Scalebut thats OKrecognizing it is the first stepyou can now begin to work your way up to health. Are there some behaviors or characteristics that you model for your children that you wish you didnt? Do you instruct your kids to do things that you do not do yourself? Do you practice what you preach? Do you truly lead by example?

If there is an area in your life that is jumping to the forefront of your mind right nowthen you have some work to do (I think we all do!)

Take Action: Pick one area in which you feel you are not leading by example. Work on that area. Do you need to give up something? Do you need to watch your language? Do you need to be more loving and kind to your kids? Do you need to stop telling white lies? Do you need to stop being critical? Whatever it iswork on it this week.

Remember, its progress, not perfection!


  1. You really speak to our hearts, girl. So many times my own actions unfortunately make me think, “Do as I say not as I do”, whether dealing with our kids or my employees. This is NOT good and you have inspired me to lead by example even more. Thank you!!!!

  2. Hi Deanna,

    The information is so good in your blogs that I always share your posts on my Facebook page.

    Just “sharing the love”, as you say!

  3. Michael Bobeczko says:


    Great advice not only for our children, family and friends but also the workplace and people we interact with every day. I also love your tag line ” Its progress not perfection”.

  4. Christopher Hopkins says:

    Another great thought and path to start my week!!

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