Setting An ExampleMay 22, 2022
Early yesterday morning, I was driving along a familiar route near my home.
On one particular stretch of roadway, the traffic lights were out of commission and blinking red, indicating all vehicles should treat the intersection like a stop sign.
There were other cars in the vicinity, but all were going in the same direction (none crossing the street). As the cars around me approached the light, some of them came to a complete stop, but most cars only slowed down. And it was tempting to do the same.
But I reminded myself that, to some degree we all look to each other for cues of what to do and what’s appropriate. And if I breezed through the lights, it would be sending a signal to others that I think it’s ok to ignore the traffic signals. And that might encourage others to do the same in a situation that is not so benign.
We’re all setting examples, all the time...for our children, for our coworkers, for our neighbors and more. With our behavior we communicate “here’s what I think is right, here’s what I think is best”. This could mean following common guidelines (tell the truth, don’t lie, treat others with respect) but it could also mean challenging the accepted norms. In fact, it would be useful if we each recognized I'm not just setting an example, I'm setting my example.
We set our example when:
- we raise our hand and ask a courageous question
- we show compassion to someone who’s wronged us
- we take a firm stance on an unpopular position
What examples are you setting?