By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield
Monkey See, Monkey Do" A.K.A. Parenthood
Years ago I was participating in a men's bible study class. The topic that day was parenthood. Many of the men present had grown children and grandchildren. At some point in the discussion, I commented that my observation had always been that parenthood was a big game of monkey see, monkey do. The comment first drew a bit of laughter. But the group also had to admit I had a point. Several of the more experienced gentlemen present went on to comment on how much of themselves they saw in their children. The most interesting part were the things not intentionally taught.
Kids Imitate "Their" Adults
More recently I have seen the same concept illustrated in my grandson who is about to turn two. His ultimate goal in life seems to be to be just like his "Papa." He wants to sit in Papa's chair, and wear Papa's shoes. He wants to eat like Papa, and make the computer do all those magical things like Papa.
Be an Example
So what's the point, and how does this relate to our role as parents? What it does is bring into focus the importance of our personal example to being parents. Particularly during their most formative years, we are our children's ideal of what a person should be like. They are like little mirrors. Here are some examples:
- If we yell or hit when we get angry, so will they.
- If our words are full of profanity, they will want to talk that way.
- If they see us do things for other people, they will too.
- If they see us pray and go to church, they will think that's just the way its done.
It could be said that our example is one of our most important ministries to our children. They are always watching and recording, and chances are will remember long after they have forgotten when or where they saw you act a certain way. The way you act over time is more important to this than single events. However, anytime your children see you doing something has some impact.
As Christian parents we should take our example from Christ, and from our heavenly father. Obviously none of us are perfect. Here and there we will fall short of their perfect example. But we must always be mindful that we are always "on stage." We must always strive to make sure the personal example we exhibit to our children is as close as possible to the kind of people we want them to grow up to be.
Obviously as our children mature, peer pressure and other factors have a powerful impact on who they become. However, especially during their most formative years, nothing is more important to our children than being just like Mom and Dad. Remember the old saying "actions speak louder than words." Our actions should always speak to our children in terms of the upstanding Christian adults we want them to grow to be.