An adult was heard to say “my dad didn’t teach me what to do, he just lived and let me watch”.
That’s rich. How many parents spend a great deal of time “telling’ their children what to do, how to do it, how to be “polite”, “kind”, etc. Is this the best way? The adult above clearly valued a different approach: modelling and let it be.
People learn best through self-discovery and exploration. “Telling” rarely communicates what is important because it is disconnected from your own experience- it amounts to accepting received wisdom, so to speak. Parents who live their lives well, don’t tell their children to do as I say not as I do”, teach them what is important and teach them in the best way possible.
The other thing at work here is not micromanaging a child’s development or future. Sure, as parents we all want what’s best for our children, we all want them to succeed in their endeavors. There is a difference between providing opportunities and support and what some parents do, which amounts to controlling their children’s lives and not allowing for self-expression and self-awareness. Letting your child discover what moves them, what contributions they can make to the world, is the best way to help them become both whole and happy.