Listening to an interview with Dr. Cornel West the other day, I heard him say something which moved me, “The judgments we make are predicated on the examples we have.” So simple – so profound. What else could our judgments be based on? The sum total of our life’s experiences, the countless examples we have been shown, teach us how and what to value.
Last year I wrote about being Conned By A Counterfeit and how important it is to look for the real thing. This post isn’t just about avoiding being fooled, but rather about the importance of leadership and the examples we set for the next generation.
Initially, when I heard that line, I felt guilty about the kind of example I might be setting for my own children. Would they learn how to make good decisions – true judgments based on my example? To be frank, I have a lot of guilt surrounding my recovery – it has been so long; everything has been so hard, and I have spent a lot of time focused on fixing me – my body – my brain. In that time, my kids still needed me, of course, but I was unable to be there for them the way I wanted to be.
Like swimming in a wave pool, in the second it took me to feel the overpowering cresting of emotions surrounding those feelings rise up and threaten to engulf me – the wave stopped. Just as quickly as the timer that turns off the waves to calm the pool – I was filled with a peaceful realization. It is true – I did falter, fall, and for a while, nearly flatlined as I lay in bed unable to think or move. But, what I didn’t do is stop being an example.
I was not a pillar of strength.
I was not the perfect patient.
I was certainly not the perfect parent or provider in the two years that have passed since my accident, but I was a fighter.
I have scratched and clawed my way through recovery. My children have seen me try and fail countless times. They have seen me make progress and then face setback after setback, and still keep going. My children have seen me break down, pick up the pieces, and try again. And, they know that I am doing it all to get back to them – to be who I was – to be better than who I was so that I can be there for them for many years to come.
What has kept me going is love.
So, if through this whole experience they get nothing but the example of someone who will fight, what seem to be, insurmountable obstacles… for them – someone who will not give up regardless of how many times they fall… for them- someone who loves them so much that they will attempt to reinvent themselves from the ashes so that they can support them as they age – then I think I’m O.K. with that.
” …I am who I am because somebody loved me, it’s Mom, it’s dad, it’s my brothers, my sisters, it’s my friends … ‘Examples are the go-cart of judgement.’ The judgements we make are predicated on the examples we have.”
– Dr Cornel West interview with Joe Rogan
Matthew 7:15-20 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.