EXAMPLE IS BETTER THAN PRECEPT
We are in the habit of giving sermons to others. People advise others on any issue that comes up. Before we tender advice to others we should introspect ourselves. If we smoke and ask the children not to smoke it won’t have any impression on the boys. They may not smoke out of fear, but will surely make an experiment when a chance occurs. Many mothers would ask the sons not to have chilies while they do have it. Father would ask the boy or the girl to rise early and go for a walk, but he himself sleeps till nine. Boys are asked not to remain constantly before the TV. screen while the elderly people always remain there. These orders, suggestions or advice have no effect on the youngsters.
A mother once took her son to a saint. She requested him to advise the boy not to take too much of jaggery. The saint asked her to bring the boy to him after seven days. After a week when the mother approached him again he advised the boy not to take too much jaggery. He told him how it affects health. The mother asked him why he did not advise the boy a week back. ‘I myself took too much of jaggery. How could I advise your son? Moreover, I did not know what harm was caused. Since I have left taking it, I have the right to advice on its evil effects’.
Many social workers, political leaders and teachers are in the habit of giving advice to young boys – rather to everyone who comes across them. They ask others to be moralist when they themselves indulge in bribery. They ask the youth to be patriots when they are a party to smuggling and such acts which are antinational. A Principal always asked the students not to smoke when he was a chain smoker. None is impressed by such people. A precept would work only when the preceptor proves it from his own life. If one puts an example before others he won’t have to give sermons. People would themselves follow him.