I was sitting having a cup of coffee in my lounge room this week with my bichoodle puppy, Huey, curled up beside me. (He’s 4 now but he’ll always be my puppy!) When we were done relaxing I started asking him if he would like to go for a walk and was using all the verbal cues he knows to get moving. He’s always ready to go for a walk and was as usual attentive to my every word. He sits very well and waits for my cue to get up. After a little chit chat teasing him about the possibility of going for a walk, I finally gave the command “let’s go!”. He didn’t move. I said it again and this time stood up myself. He then shot off the couch and followed me to get ready for his afternoon promenade.
This interaction with Huey wasn’t different to any other day but it prompted me to think how much he responds to my movement and actions. As a very young puppy we completed training together with a dog whisperer/trainer and I remember how she was very much using her own actions as well as verbal cues when interacting with the dogs, in favour of copious amounts of treats. As a musician, I enjoyed chatting to her about this because we both knew the power of the energy and vibration the dogs are empathetic to. When I walk with longer strides and with a slight backwards lean Huey knows to stay with me. I could go on with example after example of Huey responding to my actions but hopefully you’re getting the gist of where I’m going.
As a flute teacher I aim to provide great playing demonstrations for my students whenever possible. Some teachers rarely play – and perhaps some play too much! – but as a picture paints a thousand words, a fine playing example can quickly explain what many words cannot. My demonstration, my action, is the culmination and proof of my teaching in words. As I’m a deep thinker, I then pondered the fact that actions really do speak louder than words. A good leader I’ve learned, is one who leads by example. Whether it is teaching my many students or living life in general, my little Huey has reminded me that what I do matters. What I do is the embodiment of what I believe.