The most valuable gift you can give another is a good example. It might be true that there are 6 billion people in the world. Nevertheless, what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference first of all in material terms. It makes a difference to other people. People and their personal experiences provide us with many opportunities for learning. Among the variety of experiences of others there are two valuable sources of information. They correspond to two different categories of people, who are going through the same experience, come to a surprisingly different results.
Every day we are under the influence of representatives of both groups. One of them is an example to be followed, and the other is an example of what to avoid, it should be studied, but not copied. There are many proverbs telling of the value of good example in influencing others. One can be influenced for good by the good example of others. Yet I think many people learn a lot more from the bad example of others. I think that in my case I have been more influenced for good by the bad example of others than from the good example.
I remember when I was little I saw faults in the conduct or character of others and remind myself not to make that mistake, act that way, be guilty of that. I noted the bad behavior and it was a lesson for me. Most of us have a lot more bad example around us than good example so it is the bad example from which we are more likely to learn. Sometimes we can notice different things in the character of others such as maliciousness, argumentativeness, dishonesty, laziness, etc. it can be a sort of object lesson for us on how not to behave.
It is true too, of course, that bad example can influence people towards badness. One person sees badness and is repelled by it and it is an object lesson to him on how not to behave; another person sees the same badness and is attracted to it and copies it. Especially children learn by copying what others do. By watching and imitating others, young children learn how to interact socially. The examples set by adults, older siblings and children are the most powerful influences shaping a child’s behaviour and personality.
If adults shout, behave violently, exclude or discriminate, children will learn this type of behaviour. If adults treat others with kindness, respect and patience, children will follow their example. If mothers and fathers treat each other with love and respect, this is what their children will learn and most likely ‘replay’ in their adult relationships. One more example: Observing the behavior of people at a traffic light, you notice a different reaction of people’s to the same signal for all, in this case – a red light, and how it depends on the behavior of others.
If the head of the crowd several people stop, usually so do the others. If there would be a madcap, who will make a run across the road , surely there will be followers. In consideration of this , it should be remembered that, breaking rules of road – you set a dangerous example. And if there are children …. They absorb everything like a sponge. People learn in a variety ways. Some ways make a bigger impression on a person than others. So your good deeds may be a good example for all. That’s why the most valuable gift that you can give another is a good example.