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Blog: Simplify Your Life
Simplicity With Kids -- What Sort Of A Role Model Are You?

Simplifying your life involves more than cleaning out clutter and eliminating consumerism -- it's about living with integrity, making choices that are in alignment with your long-term goals and core values. And if you want your kids to embody the same values as they grow up, you have to set the right kind of example for your them. So how are you doing at that?

What Kind Of A Role Model Are You?

I've never had much use for the "do-as-I-say-do-not-as-I-do" school of parenting. I believe that if you're going to set a standard of behavior for your children (or anyone else, for that matter), you should practice the same principles in your own life. This is a duplicity-free zone!

And contrary to popular belief, children can recognize hypocrisy from the time that they learn to talk. I remember at the tender age of 6, my mother telling me that I had to go to church every Sunday while she stayed home and puttered in her garden. That lasted about two weeks before I said, "Why do I have to go when you don't?" and my religious life came to a grinding halt. She tried telling me that adults are allowed to do things that children aren't -- but this argument should really only be used when explaining the societal privileges you acquire with age (like getting to drive or watch rated-R movies or eat ice cream for breakfast.) Wink

But the minute you judge yourself against a different yardstick than your kids when it comes to personal values, kindness, etiquette, or basic consideration toward your fellow man -- you're abusing your power as a parent. You spend your days correcting your children's behavior, trying to mold them into upright citizens -- but how often do you practice what you preach? Have you ever been guilty of:

  • busting your child for stealing a toy from the store, then not speaking up when you realize that the clerk has seriously undercharged you for a purchase
  • telling your kid that it's not nice to call people names, then indulging in a moment of road-rage where you scream obscenities at the driver of another car
  • lecturing your child on how you're supposed to help those less fortunate than you (when trying to get her to clean out old toys to donate), then acting like that homeless panhandler doesn't even exist when he asks you for a quarter on the sidewalk
  • telling your kid that you can't afford to buy him a certain toy because money is tight right now, then going out and spending $3,500 big-screen TV for yourself

  • punishing your child for being a bully at school, then making threatening and intimidating remarks about a neighbor who lets his dogs run through your yard or makes too much noise on the weekends
  • informing your kid that he can't go play with his friend because he needs to be a part of "family night," then agreeing to work on the weekend so that you miss his little league game
  • explaining to your child that it's wrong to lie, then calling in sick to work when you aren't actually sick
These might seem like minor violations, but they all add up in the mind of a child. Actions speak louder than words -- every time you tell a kid to do one thing then do something else yourself, you are reinforcing the idea that social rules and mores don't really matter. Pontificate until you're blue in the face -- it's pointless if you throw your own values and principles out the window on a whim (then brag later about how you benefited from the situation and didn't get caught!) Is that really the example you want to set for your offspring? Perhaps this might be the time to start modeling the behaviors you want your children to emulate as adults.

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posted on: 11/27/2012 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Simplify Your Life

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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