Educating by example

Education is one of the great challenges of societies, as an engine of human development, economic growth, social mobility and many other functions of the education system worldwide. During this 2020, the educational system has had to take measures to adapt to the current context, rapidly implementing distance education systems, with the objective of responding to the need to continue the teaching/learning process while taking measures to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the closure of educational institutions, there are about 1370 million students who have had to carry out their studies from home all over the world. This has had the most diverse implications, and one of them is that the role of the family as a formative space for our children and young people has returned to being a space for meeting and daily sharing.

Fathers, mothers and caregivers have had to combine their jobs, many of them also at a distance, with the chores at home and the support in the educational process of our sons and daughters. This has undoubtedly constituted a burden and a responsibility that many were not used to, however, it has put back in the center the role of the family in the formation of the youngest.

This role, which has been progressively deposited in teachers and educational institutions, returns to an irreplaceable place: the family.
Although most of us parents do not have all the time or all the technical tools to support our sons and daughters in their formative process in the most effective way, we do have an element that no one else can do for the generations that are in a phase of growth and formation, namely, the formation of values and the construction of those habits that can mark the way in which each one learns and applies to create his or her life.

I firmly believe that the best way to educate those who come after us (and also those who accompany us in another type of environment) is by example. What is the use of telling them to be honest and not to lie, when some parents do it repeatedly? How to form healthy relationships if at home the treatment becomes violent and transgressive?… there are many examples that we could list to understand this phenomenon more, and that is why the conclusion seems clear. The best way to educate is by example… but how to set an example of something we are not… it is not possible.

Example is based on the integrity and consistency of our words and actions. The dissonance between these elements makes our example lose value and not be a clear footprint that others can follow, so if we want to be responsible in what we teach others, perhaps it is time to mold ourselves to improve in those gaps that each of us surely have, because if we are better we can be consistent example and thus we can transmit what we really believe it is important to teach and leave for those to come.

The education of the next generations is not something that should rest on the decision of teachers, schools or governments, nor is it an element for the mere debate of experts and specialists, but it is, in the first instance, a “curricular” decision that is forged at home and in the way of being of the adults responsible and of reference for those who will be, in turn, the educators of those who will come tomorrow. So if you want to be a better educator, then it is time to be a better person, more integral and upright, so that instead of preaching, your day-to-day actions will be enough.

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