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Farmer’s Field: Do as I say, Not as I do

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

“Do as I say, not as I do.”  

We’ve all heard it before, maybe from our parents, grandparents, bosses, teachers or someone else of influence in our lives. But how many of us actually believe this is a good practice?  

Plain and simple, it’s hypocrisy at its finest. When we utter those words, we are essentially asking for a pass on our behavior and destroying the effectiveness of our words. It’s completely contradictory.  

There are many problems in this world, but in my opinion, the root of many of these problems comes from this small phrase. We’ve perhaps heard it so many times, we forget how impactful it can be.  

Just the other night, in a midnight conversation with my son who is a high school senior, this very topic came up.  He expressed his frustration to me regarding words versus actions, after his observation of a teacher in his school that day. 

There’s more to the story, but I’ll keep it basic for now.  

While the teacher sits for most of the class period with his legs stretched out across the desk, no student is allowed to do the same thing. To be clear, I do not condone students lounging at their desks for any reason. But I also do not approve of this body language for teachers either. 

It may seem like a petty thing to point out. Some may believe the teacher is allowed to do what he wants because it’s his classroom. Others may believe the teacher is an adult who went through the process and work of getting his teaching degree and is therefore entitled to assume whatever position he feels comfortable with when teaching. 

Others yet, may argue students are required to do what the teacher says regardless of whether they like it or even if it contradicts the teacher’s behavior. One way or another, someone, somewhere, will find an argument strong enough to justify the case.

I would disagree quite strongly, however, to every rebuttal which might support the premise of “Do as I say, not as I do.”  

My argument is simple. Because the teacher is in a leadership position when it comes to educating our youth, he, above all, has an absolute obligation to ensure what he does matches very closely with what he says. And, more importantly, it is his responsibility to recognize big things first grow from little things.  

What I mean, more specifically, is when we don’t pay attention to the little things or the things we might view as “irrelevant” or “insignificant,” they most often grow into things that are much larger and more significant.

Furthermore, the teacher’s actions diminish the value of his words, eventually resulting in a decline in respect. 

As a result, when we fail to do as we say, we set the example it’s okay for others to behave in the same manner. There are often no real consequences, so there is nothing preventing us from doing it more in other aspects of our lives.  

When we embrace the concept of “do as I say, not as I do,” it bleeds into creating a world of double standards. They’re everywhere. Unfortunately, they are rampant in our country’s political system, our schools, our churches, our businesses and our homes.  

If you do a search for “double standard news today” and “hypocritical news today,” you will find approximately 1,735,200,000 pages. That’s right – almost two billion pages of hypocrisy and double standard news. And this is just what’s getting to the internet. 

It boils down to this – we want our way and whatever it takes to get there, and one way or another, we find a way to justify it.  

Although this mentality is rampant in our society, it’s a problem which has existed since man walked the Earth. Even the Bible mentions it.  

Proverbs 20:23 states, “The Lord detests double standards. He is not pleased by dishonest scales.”  

But has this problem become such a part of our culture it cannot be fixed?  

As long as the hearts of people desire to seek their own way without considering the impact it has on others, the problem will always persist. 

However, I do think we all carry the capacity to change things for the better. It begins with the complete understanding no matter who we are, where we are or what we are doing, we are always setting an example. No matter what.  

Someone is always watching and listening. Always. Even at the most micro-level, if you think what you say and do doesn’t matter, think again.  

Our responsibility lies in holding each other accountable when our words do not match our actions. It’s imperative we boldly exert our influence by informing our leaders we will not support, endorse or tolerate double standards when it becomes their modus operandi.  

It’s our obligation to take a stand. The power is in our hands. It lies within us. This is how we begin to cause a change to shape a better future.

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