When Attitudes are Caught not Taught

Posted: March 7, 2007 in Leadership

As I ponder the difference in my attitude – at the ripe old age of 66 – with those who I have been in contact with, I have to wonder why I am so self reliant and with a relatively highly developed sense of responsibility. As a young person the person who raised me (my grandmother) didn’t insist on my doing chores. That is the conventional wisdom regarding teaching young people a sense of responsibility. I can remember my grandmother being a pretty good housekeeper and she never complained – that I can remember – about nobody helping out; she just did what was necessary to keep our home up.

Of course all that thinking goes out the window when one considers the saying “When I first got married I had 6 theories about raising children. Now I have 6 children and no theories”. But, the attitudes are caught idea is sound: unless the person who is trying to impart a good attitude is undercut by somebody who denigrates him/her. Even then, with a calm non-responsive-to-verbal-abuse demeanor, the parent figure can influence their children; whether they are actually children, or chronologically – but not actually – adults (i. e. they are still under your influence; that could even include your spouse). I have found that what I do is a lot more influential than what I say.

So, the saying “do as I say, not as I do” falls on deaf ears. This is all part of the general subject: leadership. I’ve always accepted the working definition of politics as being the art (or science) of leadership. I’ve been challenged on that by a political science major – who assumed that politics is a science rather than an art. I can’t help but wonder what his response would have been if I had posed the follow-up question of is politics a science or an art?

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