Lately I’ve come to realize that I’m in the wrong profession. As I look back on my life, my educational background, my career decisions, it’s occurred to me that I might have missed my true vocation…

I should have been a philosopher!

It seems that I like being a thinker more than I like being a doer. I like having ideas, whether or not those ideas have any practical value or utility.

I guess you could say I like developing the action plan more than I like putting the plan into action!

But, the problem with pursuing the life of a philosopher is that it conflicts with my vocation as a parent.

That’s because children, especially young children and most certainly Kaleb and Kenzie, tend to do what you do, not do what you say (although they certainly may repeat what you say, particularly if it’s inappropriate)!

Parenting is a process of replication. You are forming your children into your image. They’re becoming little you’s that will grow up to become big you’s. Whether you want them to or not!

I recently read an interview with The Edge (David Evans), the guitarist for the band U2. In one part of the interview he talked about the example his father had set for him and remarked that as a child you often end up not doing what you were told but imitating what you see happen. So true, Edge!

With many years of experience and research in the field of education (my actual vocation), I know that learners may be able to recount what they’ve been told, but they repeat what they’ve observed (and practiced).

Replication is the primary purpose of education. We teach students to repeat math skills or language skills correctly. We train doctors, lawyers, nurses, even teachers to repeat the skills of their profession accurately and appropriately. And to think critically based on those replicated skills.

Social and moral training occurs the same way–replication. Hence, parenting is the process of replication.

So, I constantly have to ask myself “Who are my children growing up to be?” Because they are growing up to be the kind of person they are observing in me.

And, I can assure you, that person they are observing in me is not always a good example. That’s when the philosopher in me takes over and tells them, “Do what I say, not what I do.”

Hopefully, the parent side of me can subdue the philosopher in me enough to show the kids the kind of person they should become. Because, when by my good example I show them what to do, then what I say will matter!

And then the philosopher in me can remain to live on–and deliberate–another day!

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