“To do good is noble, but to teach others to do good is nobler…and much less trouble.” ~Mark Twain
Many of us who are writers and teachers hope, I suspect, to affirm our own nobility by telling others how to behave.* Yet most of us are at least part-time purveyors of the sins we condemn, and spotty practitioners of the virtues we extol.
A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh and real life daddy of Christopher Robin, was reportedly a cold and distant father. Beloved Victorian moralist Charles Dickens summarily dumped his wife of twenty years for a 17 year old actress.
Are we trying to get into heaven by riding the coattails of those we shove?
The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “be a model” to those we teach, “both in word and in deed, in love, faith, and purity.” “Live there,” he says, “be that person…so that your progress is apparent to all…for by so doing you will not only save yourself, but your hearers, as well!” (I Timothy 4:12-16)
*Yes, I, as a writer and teacher, am using this post to do precisely that. Please excuse me while I remove the plank from my eye.