Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


Do as I Say, Not as I Do!

August 2, 2017
Posted by: Andye Daley, Project Coordinator, Institute for Curriculum Services

Remember your parents saying things like:

  • “Do as I say, not as I do!”
  • “Two wrongs don’t make a right!”
  • “If so-and-so jumped off a bridge, would you?”
  • Or the ever popular, “Stop crying before I give you something to cry about!” (always worked, right?)

Well, when I had kids I decided to take a different approach. One of the early ways that I started to teach them right from wrong was to forbid them from using words like “hate,” “stupid,” “idiot,” and a few choice curse words. I was so militant that at a certain point they would ask permission to read these words aloud even in something as innocent as a Winnie the Pooh or a Judy Blume book. I thought it was endearing. Who doesn’t want legions of dutiful followers implementing your plans for society?

Once I realized that I could use this parental power for good, I got to work. I knew I could do “good” in the world, leading by example. I didn’t want to just show my kids, I also wanted to reach my inner circle of friends and even complete strangers. I wanted people to recognize that understanding, if done the right way, is far more powerful than hate. Education trumps ignorance.

I’m pretty sure everyone hates someone or something. For me I used to say it was lazy people, cheaters and litterers. But somewhere along the way I got older … softer, wiser. I began to see that my “hate” was simply an unfamiliarity with individuals I disdained. Perhaps, if we really thought about it, most of us would eventually come to that conclusion. But our present day society is filled with people who stay in their lane and don’t think about it. In fact, a huge portion of society simply doesn’t have an informed understanding of others who are different. Whether it applies to being religiously, politically or socially different, some find it far too easy to stay ignorant. It’s those people I’m motivated to educate. Granted, I have a monumental job ahead of me … a lifetime of work … but I am on a mission to educate the uneducated.

When I moved to the Bay Area a year ago I was looking for a job that would allow me to continue pursuing this desire. How lucky I was to not only get an interview with the Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS) but to get the job as program coordinator for our professional development training program! We at ICS explain what we do and why we do it this way:

Historically there has been a lack of understanding and knowledge of those that are dissimilar to us. This has made it easy for people to become biased towards others. Every year millions of American K-12 students learn about Jews, Judaism, and Israel in public school and, unfortunately, a lot of what they learn is incorrect. At the Institute for Curriculum Services, we believe that accuracy matters, especially when it comes to educating the next generation. Education is vital to a diverse and accepting society. Which is why ICS is tackling one piece of this issue, by promoting accurate instruction on Jews, Judaism, and Israel. We provide professional development opportunities for teachers in conjunction with offering classroom-ready curricular resources. Our work is one part of a larger effort to build a stronger, more tolerant, and safer world for all people.

It’s comforting to know that I can continue to influence society in a small way while reaching thousands of young people every year. ICS has given me that path forward and I am forever grateful. And it’s got me saying things like:

  • “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” (Malcolm Forbes)
  • “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” (Sidney Harris)
  • “The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn … and change.” (Carl Rogers)