The Power of Example

With the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II, much has been said about her commitment, work ethic, and love for family. As a 21-year-old, she pledged herself to a life of service, not knowing that she would step into the role of queen much sooner than anyone expected. Over her seven decades on the throne, she led with wisdom and grace. She had a positive impact on many, an example that lives on after her.

Whether we realize it, others are watching us. They observe our actions, reactions, emotions, words, and demeanor. People watch to see if our lives mirror the precepts and beliefs we claim.

Following are some thoughts on the power of example:


September 11, 2001, is a date etched in the memory of most Americans. On that day, we watched as terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. If not for the bravery and action of passengers on United Flight 93, the plane downed in Pennsylvania would probably have hit the White House.

Also remembered are the actions of firefighters and medical personnel on September 11. Many gave their lives that day as they attempted rescue. Their actions focused on aiding others without thought of self-preservation.

September 11 was already a red-letter day for me long before 2001. My father died on September 11. His actions mirrored a life of service to God and others and had a profound impact on me.


Have you ever watched someone lose his or her temper in public or read an emotional, multi-person tirade on social media? These displays are revealing, but also embarrassing.

Years ago, I watched a man who was a deacon at our church lose his temper with the service manager at a car dealership. For years, every time I saw him at church, I remembered his anger, his fiery words, and loss of control.

From time to time, all of us do and say things we wish we hadn’t done or said, but when you allow emotions to take over, you damage the example you set for others.


How we react to situations is closely tied to emotions. Those who hold their emotions in check take time to think about their words and actions rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

Others also observe how we respond in times of difficulty. How do you react to the loss of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a job loss, or public criticism? If you react thoughtfully, prayerfully, and wisely, your example may cause others to assess their own responses and see situations in a more positive light.


The example we set for children and grandchildren is perhaps one of our greatest responsibilities. Children learn by observing and listening. The example we set is an integral part of their learning process, and you can be sure they imitate both our positive and negative actions and words.

I’m thankful for parents and grandparents who modeled a life of faith and love. Their example of service and wisdom influenced who I am today.

Although you might not have experienced positive role models, you can decide to be the example for others you wish you’d had. Let your life be a catalyst for your own forward motion and that of others.

“In all things you yourself must be an example of good behavior” (Titus 2:7 GNT).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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