Intent, Words, & Action – What It All Means

Actions speak louder than words. Liam the other day was in full out tantrum.  In the midst of it he told me to go away and that he didn’t want me.  He then further went on to shout that he wished daddy was there (And to be honest so did I).  I left him alone and a little while later he crawled into my lap unprovoked and hugged me.  His words said one thing but his actions said something totally different.  In the end he explained to me why he was upset and we worked through it. Even though Liam said that he wanted me to go away and he didn’t want me, at the end he was in my lap cuddling me. It was his actions that spoke louder and had a more lasting affect on me than his words, and this goes the same for adults.

On the contrary Ava this morning threw her water cup on the kitchen floor.    I made her pick it up and told her if she did it again, she would have to sit in timeout.  She then walked off into the living room.  I heard a thud and when I walked into the room there was the cup lying on the floor with her standing next to it smiling.  Her intent and action were very clear to me.  She was testing me.  She served her timeout, picked up her cup, and we ended it with a hug.

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.” – Pablo Picasso   Nowadays whenever someone gets into trouble their first response is, “I never intended to be offensive”, “I never intended to hurt you”, “I never intended to cheat on you.” These simple statements are suppose to wash away the wrongdoing of the action and in doing so never taking responsibility for what the wrongdoer did.  Intention is not an apology.  Just because you did not intend to hurt someone doesn’t mean that you didn’t.  Apologize.

This whole ideology infuriates me and it happens all the time.  From celebrities to sports figures to people we know, it’s the get out of jail for free statement.  “I did not intend to hurt you.” There are two parts of this statement the really irks me.  One being that by saying that, the person is never truly taking responsibility for what they have done and the impact of their actions and/or words.  Two it comes across at times, as the hurt person is overreacting to what the wrongdoer has done and in a way diminishes their feelings.

We want our children to take responsibility, own their mistakes, and apologize when they are wrong, whether it was by accident or not.  But why should they when the people that they look up to are not?  When was it that the adults stop living up to the standards that they want their children to be at? We are always modeling to our children good and bad behavior. If we want our children to become responsible, apologetic, and forgiving adults we need to show them how to do so.

Actions speak louder than words and intention as well.   In the end we can give a lot of lip service on trying to explain why we do things, but it is our actions that have the lasting affect. No one is perfect (I have said this many times) but if you want to move on from whatever event that took place we need to face our problems and wrongdoings head on. If we can take responsibility for our actions and become apologetic for them, our children will be more apt to do the same as well.

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