Who You Are? Or What You Do?
Here’s what I want you to think about today. Do you believe that who you are is more important than what you do?
If you’ve followed me a while or heard me speak at an event, you know I feel strongly about this. Do you agree? If not, why not and what would it take for you to change your mind?
Also, I wonder if your children believe that who they are is more important than what they do. If you want them to believe it, how could you persuade them?
I communicate this truth in different ways:
- Who we are is more important than what we do because everything we do we do because of everything we are. (I know that’s a mouthful! Read it again.)
- Children do what they do because of who they are.
- We are human beings not human doings.
- By watching everything I do you can learn a lot about who I am.
Think about your past 24 hours. What did you do? Do you see how your being – who you are – was present at all times? Do you see that at least some of what you did was influenced by who you are? Maybe all of it?
As you become more aware of the intersection of your being and your doing, you’ll be able to see how you can improve what you’re doing by changing who you are in the moment.
Kindness changes actions and words.
Patience changes actions and words.
Love changes actions and words.
Humility changes actions and words.
Joy changes actions and words.
Peace changes actions and words.
Generosity changes actions and words.
You get the idea – who we are matters.
When we want children to understand that who they are matters, we can ask this question: “Who were you today?” They may respond with silence as they try to figure out what you mean. Some may laugh and question you.
When they answer, “I was Kathy today. I can’t be anyone else!” you have your discussion starter. “Which Kathy were you today? The kind and outgoing Kathy or the silent Kathy? Were you patient like we know you can be or were you impatient?”
“What did you do today?” is a much more common question. It emphasizes “doing” and not “being.” It’s absolutely fine to ask. But, if you value who your children are and you want them to pay more attention as well, also ask, “Who were you today?”
Will you try this? I hope so. I’d love to know how your children respond to the new question.