Albert Einstein made a lot of sense when he said: “Example isn’t another way to teach, it’s the only way to teach.” But, why is it so important to be role models for our little ones and to be a good example?
In the 1990s, neurobiologist Giacomo Rizzolatti made one of the most important scientific discoveries for understanding human behavior. He discovered mirror neurons, a special type of neurons which are the central base of empathy and learning by imitation, meaning living beings are genetically coded to mimic. Thanks to this mirror mechanism, with the simple act of observing the behavior of another person our brain is innately capable of engaging the same motor and emotional cerebral centers as if we were the ones actually carrying out the action. As Rizzolatti wrote ”We are social creatures. Our nature depends on understanding the actions, intentions, and emotions of others. Mirror neurons allow us to understand the minds of others not only through conceptual reasoning but by direct stimulation, feeling, not thinking.”
So the time has come for you to start being a good example for your children.
A picture is worth a thousand words
It is common to overestimate the power of words in education in relation to behavior. But if we know that we learn faster by example, why not change this educational pattern? I’ll give you a bit of homework: each night write a list of what you did during the day (both good and bad) with the goal of becoming more aware of these actions in order to change your own behavior and be a good example.
To be an imperfect parent
Let’s break the illusion of having to be ”perfect people” 365 days a year. Usually, the good days prevail, but we need to accept that the bad ones happen too! Messing up and making mistakes is part of the human existence. The best part about a mistake is the lesson that it teaches you, take advantage of being an example by admitting your mistake and asking for forgiveness.
The verbal message we present to our little one needs to be synchronized with our actions. If we have any inconsistencies between what we do and what we say, we are creating a disconnect within their learning which can be counterproductive to their personal development. For example saying, ”We don’t use our mobile phones when we are talking to someone” and then you answer a WhatsApp message. Or ask our children to read books instead of watching TV, but they have never seen you read one. It is difficult to be great readers if they do not see that you read and enjoy it as well.
Respect and sincerity
These are two attitudes that we should cultivate with our children from the time they are young. Acting with maturity in the face of problems that arise in our day to day lives with rationality, wisdom, and patience.
Live a healthy life
Create a healthy home life with good hygiene, good posture, a balanced diet predominantly made up of fruits and vegetables, where you exercise regularly, and reading is always present. Turn off the electronics and connect with nature.
Role of parents
Remember that family is the first form of education in the school of life. This is why it is necessary to stop along the way to reflect and be aware of the values that we are cultivating in our children. Begin planting the seeds of good manners, personal improvement, consistency, empathy, cooperation, helping others… and water them each day with your own example. You will see the fruits of your labor when your little one grows to be a competent adult, enjoying their life’s journey.