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Example is better than precept.

People generally like to give advice, but do not like to be advised. All of us are natural-born preachers. But when it comes to practising what we preach, we make up excuses. Very often giving advance can become sheer nagging. It can become so irritating that it has no more or even the opposite effect on the hearer.

Children are keen observers. Even though the elders do not know it, children are all the while keenly observing their behaviour. They are aware of the gulf between the adults speech and their actual behaviour, between their words and deeds, between their preaching and practice. Naturally, they do not pay enough heed to the elders advise and instruction. By preaching things which they themselves don’t practise, the elders only expose themselves as hypocrites and succeed in teaching youngsters a lesson in hypocrisy.

The best way to teach is not to preach but to set and example by actually putting the preaching into practice. This is because human beings and especially children, are imitative by nature. In fact, the instinct to copy is very powerful in human beings. We should make the fullest use of this instinct to teach children what we want them to learn. If a father wants his child to never start the habit of smoking, he should first give up smoking himself. If parents wants their children to pick up good manners, they should themselves be models of good behaviour. In short, we should ourselves do what we want others to do. This is because example is better than precept and deeds are more powerful than words. Actions speak louder than words. An ounce of practise is more than a ton of precept