Practicing what we preach is one of the hardest disciplines in life. Often we set the bar higher for others than we are willing to leap ourselves.
In some cases, we simply don’t follow the advice we quickly dispense to others. That seems to be the case with health professionals and flu shots.
An Oct. 8 story in The Boston Globe revealed that hospitals from coast to coast are “bribing workers with granola bars, throwing immunization parties, and, in one case, forcing unvaccinated staff members to wear face masks in the hopes of persuading more medical personnel to get an annual flu shot.”
The shocker is that nearly 60 percent of doctors, nurses, orderlies and other health-care workers in the U.S. do not get vaccinated against the flu, though they are clearly in the high-risk groups and have exposure to many other high-risk populations.
I recall several years ago when a personal physician first told me that males over 40 with family histories of heart disease should take low-dose aspirin daily. His explanation made sense.
But since he was clearly a male over 40, I asked whether he found it easy to do as part of his morning or evening routine. He sheepishly confessed he was not yet into the routine.
Of course, I’m not picking on heath-care folks. (Offending people with needles and other sharp objects is not something I want to do.)
The reality is that most of us, regardless of vocation or avocation, do not live up to our own convictions and sermonizing. Count me in with the crowd.
When my daughter gets her learner’s permit to drive next year, it will be hard for me to instruct her with full conviction about safe and courteous driving. The 18-year experience of cruising through metro Atlanta daily has not worn off after nearly eight years removed.
Some parents resort to the adage: “Do as I say, not as I do.” That cop-out rarely if ever works.
The harder, better approach to living and teaching is to practice what we preach.