As I read the paper in my den, I heard a ruckus in the next room. One of my daughters, Kim, was yelling at her sister, Betsy. I sat listening for a moment, and then my annoyance peaked. I jumped up, stalked into the next room, clenched my fist, and yelled, "Stop screaming at your sister!"
The two of them looked at me, and suddenly I realized what an absurd figure I was, yelling at Kim to stop yelling.
"I'm sorry. I'm doing exactly what I'm telling you not to do, aren't I?"
"That's all right, Dad."
"So stop yelling, okay?"
I walked back into the den and sat down. I bent forward and closed my eyes, rubbing my forehead. That yelling of hers does kind of remind me of my own, I had to admit to myself. I began to think about the difference between speaking the truth, even speaking it well at appropriate times, and living the truth. A proverb attributed to John Locke says, "Ill patterns are sure to be followed more than good rules."
Someone else said that a person who preaches well and ...1