Wistie called Sunday. She shared the lesson of the day. Apparently a young woman advocated that the objective to acquire an education for a woman was so that her children can see her good example and decide to get an education too. Wistie had the courage to stand up and suggest that a woman should get an education because she wants an education and the motivation should not be setting an example, but in living an authentic life that reflects your personal values which hopefully includes wanting a lifetime of learning.
Of course, as her mother, I am always thrilled to hear Wistie or any of my children, rise in the face of the majority and initiate a discussion that encourages thought and a sharing of ideas that might challenge the status quo, but also might promote personal contemplation, study and meditation.
I began to ponder on this “being an example” philosophy. First off I agree with Wistie, if your reason to do something or not do something is because you are trying to set an example I believe your efforts are in vain. Actually, I believe they are counter-productive. They reek of self-righteousness and arrogance. No one will “follow your example”. It and you will repel them. No one likes to feel less than.
I believe one of the consequences of living with that mindset is the underlying distressing, constant concern about how our lives look to everyone else. We all witness daily the decisions people make. We can clearly see those choices are based on how it will look. Those who are in serious debt continue living a life style they can’t afford because if they don’t, how will it look. Those who have made bad choices won’t come clean because of how it will look. Those who might need help, emotional, physical, spiritual or financial, won’t ask because of how it will look.
Got to keep up those appearances. Our example might be guiding someone. Can’t let them down.
Some may throw out the big gun. Yea, but the Apostle Paul said to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
I am suggesting that we first need to be a believer authentically. No matter how we think we are camouflaging our intent, the truth will eventually prevail. We ultimately reveal who we truly are. As believers, desires, motives and actions are about being good, not looking good.
So, I’m off to shower and tidy up for the day. Never quite sure who might pop in. Want to look my best! Never know who might be wanting to be just like me, a middle aged, unemployed, slightly overweight, menopausal woman, but I do have a college education, so follow me!