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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.


Kmarie said...

Good thoughts. We really do take from who we know. I think my kids have an excellent role model in you... Perhaps partially because of your flaws and willingness to acknowledge mistakes.

I adore you.