Originally published September 20, 2018
Sitting at my daughter’s swim meet tonight, a friend and I were talking about recent doctor’s appointments.
Me: Yeah, my cholesterol has shot up. I gave up bread for awhile, but I really have to focus on that again. And I’ve given up candy. I’m working on cutting back on my sugar.
Me, 5 minutes later: Yep — going to Portillo’s for an Italian beef and a chocolate cake shake. See ya!
Why can’t I do as I say and not do as I do?
I don’t mind the ticky tack stuff like whether I am sticking to a diet or not as much as the bigger lessons I am trying to impart on my kids. Like telling my boys they don’t need to help themselves to a beer every night while I am twirling my glass of wine. Or reminding my daughter not to gossip but then turning around and using the catch-all “I need to vent” as an excuse to chitty chat about things I really don’t need to chitty chat about.
Merriam-Webster defines hypocrisy as “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not : behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.” I am not going to throw myself under the bus, it’s not that bad — I just know that this is a character flaw I need to focus on, because the older I get, the ickier it feels.
I’m a big believer in service to others. So why did I walk past the homeless guy outside Walgreens the other day? I think kindness goes far personally and professionally. So why the urge to snark?
Maybe it’s the news cycle that makes hypocrisy an easy target tonight. We see and hear it every day from D.C. — so much so, you wonder if you’re living in some parallel universe. What’s good for the goose is almost never good for the gander.
If I were to offer up a way to combat this, I’d probably defer to critical thinking skills. Kids need to know the difference between right and wrong, sure, but also the nuances, the gray area where those concepts are defined by their own belief set. There’s likely a general consensus around a community’s moral standards, but everyone’s mileage may vary on how exacting they are. To best make that determination, it’s important to be able to examine a situation from a factual standpoint, and then apply personal beliefs to it.
Long story short? Pass on to your kids the standards by which you live your life. What you feel is right. Even when you are not measuring up. But teach your kids to think for themselves. Do it. Then they’ll be able to tell the difference between being hypocritical and being human.
What’s not ok though? Me eating more bread. If you see me out there in the world, call me out on it. I’m kicking hypocrisy to the curb, one breadstick at a time.
Today’s recommendation: Here’s a fun one — The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll. All sorts of people pretending to be things they are not. All that hypocrisy doesn’t end well for this crew.