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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I am continually fascinated by the influences that we have on one another and ourselves. Everything that we do speaks a powerful message. There are those that watch and observe us, those who are greatly influenced by us. The video following this post is an influential reminder to us that we need to be careful and ever so mindful of what we do and within the presence of whom we do it. Watching this reminded me of the well known phrase...
Monkey see, Monkey do.

This phrase is said to have originated from Jamaica, supposedly within the 18th century, but there are some indications that it may, actually have its origins in West Africa. The saying is reference to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works, or if you will, a minute understanding of the consequences in the actions that one is mimicking.  

As a father of three, this phrase holds a lot of merit in the life of my kids and I. It is, however, not only designated to parents but to anyone who is in relation with another... friends, family, coworkers,  employers, the list goes on. We influence the acts of others. 

This phrase seems to be particularly evident within the adult-child relation. The reason for this is due to the fact that adults tend to have an increased ability to dwell on the consequences of the act that they are about to mimic. Though this appears to be a most evident fact to adults, it would be immature to say that it is so without the earnest search within one's self to recall moments truly acted out of unrealized mimicry. 

Obviously, not all things mimicked are bad. There are plenty of things that my children emulate from what they have learned, from their mother and I, that we are very proud of. There is, I will admit, plenty that they have learned from myself that I am not proud of. It is often difficult not to fall into a semi-depression when I witness and/or recall moments where my children act in a way that I do not approve, then realizing their actions were mostly due to what they themselves had witnessed in their father. 

I adore the moments when my children repeat me with their little chipmunk voices. When I have hurt myself and/or am frustrated I have sometimes blurted out, "Shit!" within the presence of my children. It is a while later that I over hear my children in their play in-act some sort of catastrophe narrated with a, "Oh Shit!". It is enjoyable, at times, to hear little children use "adult" words, however, my children have been taught that there are just some words that are to be used by adults, not children, due to their lack of understanding of the proper usage there of.  
*Please Note:I have my views on words and how they should be treated, see Words if you seek a better understanding of what I mean. 

Children are like mirrors, within which I often see the reflections of the good, the bad and the ugly of myself. 

You have most likely heard it said that, "actions speak louder then words" and, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.". These phrases are important reminders to us, that without even saying a word we influence those around us. Let us be cautious by undertaking the responsibility of dwelling on the consequences of our actions and words prior to their delivery, not just in the presence of and/or for others, but also for ourselves when we are in our solitary. Let us focus, not on the influence's of others, but on that of our own. (That does not mean that we remain silent in our concerns, but rather approach the other with absolute awareness of our own shortcomings.) Let us be a positive influence for all. 


*When viewing this please scroll down to bottom of page to pause page music in order that you may hear the video clip.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


For the purpose of GOOD and EVILwe use words.  The GREATEST TRAVESTY, however, is when we waste them on MINDLESS DRIVEL! 

*Please note that I am in no way saying that I have come any where close to perfecting that of which I have said in the following. I view myself, not as better then anyone in this field, but rather as co-journeyers in the understanding of linguistics and the use there of.  I have much to work on in speech and in grammar as well. This is an area in which I hope to better myself. Thanks*

"Think Before You Speak" and "Actions Speak Louder Then Words" 
These are phrases we have heard before, but have we failed to look deeper into their meanings and to pass these understandings unto our children? 

Over the years as my three children grow, I have been teaching them, and learning myself, the value of words. To cherish and respect them as treasured instruments. 
Words are living…always evolving, whether quickly or over long periods of time. They are powerful and, as we have seen in history, have the ability to alter the future. They give hope, knowledge, and awareness. We have all heard, at young ages and in adulthood, from our parents, elders, and even peers that there are some words that are bad and should not be said. How many of us have had our mouths washed out with soap?
My children are learning that THERE ARE NO BAD WORDS!, only bad ways of using them. It is our attitudes, motives and reasoning's behind our speech that we must hold check, not the word. For this reason, many have become confused and unjustly accuse the word, and/or speech, of being foul… when all along it was the attitude behind it that they so disagreed with. My children thus learn to conduct their thoughts, feelings and speech in respect, honour and love of others as well as words. Attitude is not the only concern when using words, but also learning which words are most effective as well as understanding the social group they are in and the words that are best suited and respectable for that social setting. 

My family and I, thank God, have the privilege of making this journey together, for as far as I can remember, I was not taught this vital differentiation (At least not in this exact manner. This is no put down to my upbringing but rather a personal observation.). We view this as a more holistic approach to the use of and understanding of words and language. In this, one begins to realize and appreciate speech and thus becomes it.  

Language derives not only in the word but mostly within the heart.

Language, words and the use their of are of immense importance, I fear that I sound like an old dud when I say this... but in our age of abbreviations (txt) and grammatical brutality, in the form of short point information (twitter, facebook,) we may have deadened, not words, but our minds conceptualization of them and their use. *Please, I mean no offence to those of you who use these particular forms of communication. They have their place and importance, and like words they themselves are not bad, it is how and what they are used for that have made them a nauseant to some.

It is my hope that all those who have a presence in the lives of my children will likewise respect and cherish words, understanding that THERE ARE NO BAD WORDS, only bad ways of using them. Please, do not tell children or others that a word is bad, wicked or evil, but rather focus on how they may better handle their attitudes prior to the use there of and why they feel the need to use that and/or those words. 

*Pause music at bottom of screen to watch video.

 Song choice- "Silence"  by Hans Zimmer

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It Was A Night Around Christmas

- The above was created by David Hayward
Visit his site, click his name, to see other great cartoons.

*I know that this is a little bit late in the season, however, it is worth posting.*

The other day I came across this poem at randywoodley. I enjoyed the rawness of it and the fresh perspective that it presented. Often Christmas can become mundane and overdone, so much so that I sometimes lose interest in it. This year I learned a few more things about the christmas season that I had not otherwise known. There are things that weren't and aren't taught to the children, youth and even adults within churches, along as without, about some of the ways the christmas season came to be.

It Was A Night Around Christmas 
It was a night around Christmas, in a crowded old cave
With camels and horses and cattle she laid
Knocked up by the Spirit, baby daddy beside
Psycho girl in some trouble, or maybe she lied
No time for a cleaning, no time for midwife
The stable was plenty for this baby’s life
Creation around him to welcome him in
The One who created them all back way back when
Looking for something or someone so grand
The shepherds crossed over oppressor man’s land
Kept out of the courts, their injustice not heard
He trusted them scoundrels to spread the first word
Representing creation, a pretty good crowd
Some shepherds, and cattle, and mice and some foul
A poor pregnant virgin, a blue-collar man
And wealthy Star Gazers from Iraq or Iran
All witness a Jew-baby, once who’d been King
And creator, and communist divinity
Calling back all creation, calling all strangers home
Bedded in a camel spit and mouse feces throne
A man for the poor, the outcast, the oppressed
For women and Gentiles and all of the rest
For earth and creation, for animals too
For those who just need him, like me and like you.
It was a night around Christmas, in a crowded old cave
When God gave up Jesus to the World he had made.
written by and posted here with the permission of randywoodley
Any thoughts...?


* song choice is the 'first noel'  by the Black Label Society

Sunday, January 1, 2012

10 Questions To Ask Yourself As We Bid Farewell To 2011!

It was the reading of my sister in-law's blog post (Krista) that my wife wrote one of her own (Kmarie)
and thus after reading both of their's for myself... it was the inspiration of these great women that I do so likewise.

Often, as these inspirational women have shared,...we forget to REFLECT

To reflect is to QUESTION,
question to REFLECT,
reflect... to ALTER the course of ones FUTURE.

1. What is one truth you learned?
The greatest truth learned... was that of LOVE.  Everything... all things done without love are, as Paul iterates in a New Testament letter,  'skubalon' , translated to english... BULLSHIT!  What good are things done when done without love?

2. What is something that you did that you are particularly proud of?

One thing in particular was the completion of my apprenticeship in carpentry. I started my forth year, technical training at, in January and finished in February.  2011 witnessed me obtaining my Journeyman Carpenters ticket. I am, what some have referred to as, a "J-Man".

While being a Carpenter has never really been what I have expected to do as a career... it has been enjoyable. I have had a like/hate relationship with carpentry. There have been moments where either my workplace, life circumstances and/or, extensive personal issues that had distorted for me the life of a carpenter and labourer. I underwent moments of detest, repulsion and utter hatred for it. I blamed it for holding me back. With those feelings, have also been times of enjoyment and thankfulness for what I have. Still...I hasten to say that it is what I love.

3. What was the hardest thing that you had to do?

The admission of my own failures in two specific circumstances along with many other, smaller, but no less important, incidents.
Admit my selfishness.
Being honest when it was not comfortable to do so.

4. What is something that you changed to improve the way you live?
When... in all my yearnings for  future things and struggles to make more money by working extensive amounts, all the while failing to be present in the Present and being unavailable to those of whom I love... I decided to work less. 
Some may say it crazy or foolish, but when we only live one life it is foolishness not to LIVE FULLY in the NOW!

5. What was your favourite Arts and Culture discovery (this could be a book, movie, song, etc.)?

It would have to be that of Julian Smith(JulianSmith). I was introduced to Julian in January by a friend of mine at school. Once I watched one video clip of his, I was hooked. I appreciate  his genius. He is intelligent in what he creates. My favourites are: I'm Reading A BookRacist Coffeegrandma-like-whoastuck-inside-your-head-remix, and pre-blessed-food

It is the likes of these that have me repeating what Soren Kierkegaard once shared,
"It has often struck me when reading a good poem or some other work of genius that it was a good thing after all that I myself was not its author, for then I would not be allowed to vent my joy without fear of being accused of vanity (January: I A 118)."

What was something new you tried?
I guess that this may apply... A.D.D.. I discovered that I have it. I was diagnosed with it in May and ever since that realization I have been able to, thanks to my counsellor, utterly change my life. Without this coming to knowledge I fear that I would have continued on down a very deep and dreadful path.

7. What experience did you appreciate the most?
Like my wife... I can not answer singularly.
1. Receiving my Journeyman Carpenters Ticket.
2. Celebration of my apprenticeship completion and birthday, with friends and family, that my precious wife put on.
3. Receiving a much needed vehicle from my in-laws(thanks guys).
4. All the phone conversations I have with a friend so dear to my heart(I love you Nathan).
5. Every chance I get to be with my exquisite wife and darling children.
6. Every Philosophical/Theological event this year - CALLED TO QUESTION.
7. Close friends with whom I enjoy the riches of conversing... with pipes hung from our lips while contemplative pondering's ascend and variegate with the ever gentle sway of smoke.

8. What did God surprise you with?
The immaculate GRACE and COMPASSION of Christ. I had spent years of agony and heart wrenching searching for something... not quite sure exactly what it was, perhaps, most likely myself, but in a moment it came to me or I to it. I was met with utter grace and compassion, so much so that all other things drifted away. All other voices, institutions and social pressures telling how and what I should be, where eliminated and the only voice that I gave a shit about anymore was that of Christ's. 

9. What was something that inspired you?
Kung Fu Panda 2 and watching number one again with my children. Such great teachings about inner peace within those movies that are taught along side humour and love. 
Of course, I was most inspired by MY WIFE. You never cease to amaze me my dear. 
Second, to my friend, MY NATHAN. Thanks for all your support and love over the years, you know that they have not been easy for me, but you were always there.

10. If there was one word to describe 2011, what would it be? 


I encourage you to look through these questions yourself and take time to reflect... it could alter your entire future. 

Song Choice: Auld Lang Syne- Piano Version
My wife took this picture of the kids honorary Auntie and I. She spent the New Year with us and deserved the reflection after figuring out the Spiderman Yahtzee instructions.