Speaking about their children, there are parents that think that leading by example is enough, and thus that there is no need to do anything else. Leading by example is important, but it is not all.
I remember a twelve year old boy whose school conduct during recess and sports left much to be desired for: he was capricious, would not help his classmates, always wanted to be right in discussions, and would always make sure that he did the least work possible.
And notwithstanding, his parents were excellent people: they gave him a good example with their jobs, they appreciated his good intentions, and they would praise him in order to build up his self esteem. Speaking with them, however, they admitted certain habits of their son:
– He almost always failed various classes; but it was not the child’s fault if not the teachers’ and that of bad luck in tests.
– When he arrived home he let his coat or jacket fall wherever while his mother would patiently hang it.
– Since he was busy watching television, he was never able to help his father set up the table.
– When someone would ring the door bell, he would never get up to open it, but instead his mother would even if she was cooking or ironing.
– Most of the times he would eat to his own whim.
– The parents gave in to his interests with little resistance thinking that they could not force their son to be good since good behavior had to come out of him naturally.
The father would argue that he had a lot of personal experience when it came to human relations and that if their son was to do things by force, then he would grow up in a negative spirit, bitter and twisted. Nothing good could come out from that. This philosophy, taken to the extreme, was giving disastrous results, since excessive permissiveness is a severe error almost as much as its ingenuity.
It is necessary to give a good example by reasoning things out and allow for positive ideas to develop naturally in them. However, this does not mean that children must be spoiled. It does not mean that a child must be imposed a military discipline at home, but it is not educational to allow the child to not help others, or not do chores, and always be right and do all that he or she wants to do. It is just as wrong to be excessively intransigent as it is to be totally permissive (Translated by Gianna Sanchez Moretti).