August 24, 2013

Example Is Better Than Precept

Essay : [Example Is Better Than Precept]

English Essay on "Example Is Better Than Precept"

Example Is Better Than Precept

Points: Introduction – Demonstration makes an indelible impression – It is used in reference to moral codes.

By the term example is meant a fact, act or thing that illustrates a general rule. By precept is meant a theoretical advice explaining a principle to be followed for achieving some end. But example is always better than and preferable to precept for the following among other reasons:
A precept, as said above, is a piece of advice couched in language and is given to enable one to do something. But no amount of advice or lecturing can make a lasting impression upon the mind unless and until a practical demonstration is given. In theoretical classes in science students are taught that one thing added to another produces a third thing quite new and unthought of before. The lecture, howsoever efficiently it may be delivered, and howsoever attractive it may be, fails to produce the desired effect on the students. When, however, they re taken to the laboratory and shown how the mixture of two things (e.g. oxygen and hydrogen) produces a thing (e.g water), the demonstration makes an indelible impression upon their mind. If a volume of advice is given to a boy who is eager to make a cage for his bird in respect of how to make it, he will fail to make it. But if a cage is actually made before his very eyes, he will certainly learn the art. In this way it will be seen that example is better than precept.
The word precept is generally used, in reference to moral codes. Here also example is better than precept. A man who desires that his sons should’ not lie should give up lying himself. If he himself lies and advises his sons not to lie, his advice will have little or no effect on them if a spiritual leader denounces drinking wine and himself drinks it, he will never succeed in making his followers desist from the vice of drinking. Once a man went to Hazrat Muhammad (s) and sought his advice as to how to correct his son who was too fond of sweets. Hazrat Muhammad (s) himself was very fond of sweets. He thought within himself for some moments and then asked the man to see him some days later. Hazrat Muhammad (s) gave up eating sweets and when the man came to him again, he said, “Ask your son not to be so fond of sweets, for it is harmful for health”. Hazrat Muhammad (s) felt that when he himself was fond of sweets, he had no right to advise the man to ask his son not to be so fond of them.
Man by nature is imitative. What he sees makes a deeper impression upon his mind than what he hears. Example is therefore, in all circumstances, better than precept.

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