Today I had the opportunity to go to an awards assembly at my kids’ school. They were getting an award for being on the honor roll for this grading period. I was home so I definitely wanted to support them by showing how proud I am of the effort they put forth to achieve the grades they do.
We got to the school and were seated in the cafeteria which is where they do the awards banquet. Our children are allowed to sit with us so they came over and sat down between my wife and I. The assembly had multiple grades in attendance. It was a packed room with the students and the parents who were there. We were happy to get a seat… although I do remember the tables being a lot more roomy when I was younger.
The principal began the assembly by calling off the names of the oldest group of students to come up and receive their award. It started out the way we all would think; the students paying attention, the parents clapping for each name read and everyone enjoying the event.
As we got going, I noticed a change begin to creep into the room. The kids started talking to each other instead of being attentive. The parents began chatting to their neighbors and waving to their friends across the room. One father to the left of my wife even answered his cell phone and had a conversation right in the middle of the assembly talking in his normal voice.
The principal and her assistant would occasionally stop to ask the students to pay attention and respect the remainder of the assembly participants. This would work for the students sitting with their classmates for a couple minutes. The amazing observation I made was it barely even slowed the other half of the room with the parents and their kids sitting together.
Being in the personal development arena and a former psychology major, I tend to observe sociology experiments like this. Each time after the children quieted, they would consistently get loud again and in a shorter time. The principal had lost control of the room.
The observations were coming fast and furious at this point. One parent told the child they were sitting with to quiet down and in the next breath resumed the conversation they were having with their friend. Do you think this may have been a confusing message to their child? Do you think any parent would have listened had the principal made remarks to them about quieting down and paying attention or would they have created a scene in today’s world?
In my life and especially my coaching, one of the areas I always talk about is being congruent in your actions to match what you are saying. These parents were telling their children one thing while doing something completely different right in front of them without batting an eyelash about it. How do you think this may affect their children’s future life? What lesson are they teaching their child at this point? What about their future relationships where they commit to do something only to do whatever they want in the next breath?
Now since I study what people do even more than what they say, how do you think this affects my viewpoint of this person? Will I necessarily take them at their word in the future when they tell me something? What about if I have an opportunity to do business with them?
Now the really powerful question for you – do you act in ways which would appear incongruent with what you say or who you are? The one idea I live my life by is what would the whole world think if I had a TV camera following me every day at every moment showing everything I do? Would I be proud of what they saw? My answer is yes since I live my life in a very congruent manner. I’m the same person at home as I am when I’m out in public. I do what I say and say what I do. Come spend time with me. You will find this to be true!
This makes it easy for me to do what I do. Remember there are constantly people watching what you do… even when you least expect it. As long as you choose to live a congruent life, this is perfectly fine for you. If you are part of the crowd who practices “do as I say, not as I do”, know the consequences of your incongruency… especially when you are unaware others are watching. As far as I’m concerned, it is much easier and more enjoyable to just be congruent. You never know when the camera is rolling.