“Well done is better than well said.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Do you remember when someone disappointed you? They probably did not follow through with their actions. They said one thing and did another.
I remember it like yesterday. My neighbor promised to make me a Halloween costume that looked like “I Dream of Jeannie”, but it never happened. Don’t worry; I am over it now. It’s only taken me 40 years to get over it … just kidding.
It’s funny how we as children hold on to those types of memories. Research has shown that we communicate only 7% with our words, 35% with our tone of voice and 58% with our actions. When communication breaks down or when there is a lack of trust, it is often because words are so emotionally charged; they can create wounds that are hard to heal when people’s actions do not back up what is said.
Actions prove who someone really is while words show what someone wants to be.
Helping our children understand that our actions should match our words is an important part of growing up to be a leader. Communication is critical in all relationships: family members, friends, co-workers and even ourselves.
As parents, you have the opportunity to teach your children positive behavior patterns that they will use now and that will positively impact their futures. How do we do that?
Practicing actions speak louder than words
Sometimes we don’t need to say anything; we just need to do something. Here are some games we play with our younger children.
Secret Ninja: Discuss being Secret Ninjas. When your child sees something around the house that needs to be cleaned up, they don’t say, “Mom, the clothes need to be folded.” Instead, encourage them to go fold them secretly, so that no one knows they did it. Take action. If someone asks, “Who folded these clothes?” then the child can answer mysteriously, “I don’t know, maybe a secret ninja did it.”
Superhero Helper: Help your child come up with a list of things they can do this week to be a superhero at helping around the house. Write the ideas down. Have your child commit to doing several of them, but here’s the catch: they are not going to be reminded to do them. At the end of the week, see how well their actions matched up with their spoken commitments at the beginning of the week.
Seeing your children keeping their word, even when they don’t want to, is not only a great indicator that they understand not only the importance of their actions matching their words, but also are beginning to actively live it out this value.
Thank you for allowing us to partner with you in raising a Leader for Life.