Monkey See, Monkey Do

monkey-seeYou can tell an awful lot about someone by looking at their kids. That’s a hard truth that I am learning more and more every day. Whatever I value, whatever I despise, whatever I love, my kids will not be far behind. They live with me, they watch me, they see me every day, so it should be expected that the behavior that they are most likely going to emulate should be my own.

That’s all fine and good when it comes to good behavior. But what happens when the behavior is not so good? What happens when they help in a home improvement project that involves hammers and Daddy hits his finger? What happens when Mommy and Daddy are talking about an issue and assume that the kids are preoccupied? Kids will copy what they see.

I’ve been pretty disappointed in the last few years when I have seen this over and over again, not only in myself, but also in others. I’ve watched children (younger and older) begin to espouse an ideology that I couldn’t figure out………until……….I looked at Mom and Dad and realized that the apple hadn’t fallen too far from the tree. I read emails that had been written or comments that had been made. I heard questions that had been asked and criticism that had been lobbed, and I could tell that it had most likely come from somewhere else.

What an incredible reminder it has been to me to be cautious about the things that I am promoting. How am I treating my wife? Am I using kind words? Am I a help to her or a hindrance? My sons will look at me to determine how they ought to treat their future wives. My daughter will look at me to hold up expectations of how she should be treated by her future husband. If I am doing a good job then those expectations may be high. If I’m not doing such a good job, I shouldn’t be surprised when I see behavior that I might loathe, only to find out that it started in me.

When I was a little kid attending Sunday School, there was a song that we would sing that said, “be careful little eyes what you see…..” It went on to say, “be careful little ears what you hear….” And so on and so on. I guess there could be a song for adults that says, “Be careful big mouths what you say….” In fact, my cousin and his wife have a sign in their kitchen that says, “What shouldn’t be heard by little ears should not be said by big mouths!” How appropriate!

My kids will act out what they see, so I had better be asking myself how I am doing in that area. If I really want to know how I’m doing, I don’t need to ask anyone else, I just need to look at my kids and just watching them will tell me volumes enough.

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