• Dr. Andy and Renie Bowman

Like Father; Like Son

My son works the night shift,

and therefore is sleeping when much of the country is going about their business. One morning he received a phone call that wakened him from a sound sleep. His wife, an elementary school teacher was on the other end of the line. “You better get yourself up here to the school…now! There is an issue YOU are gonna have to deal with, not me!”

Dressing quickly while shaking off the fog of sleep interrupted, he made his way to the school where she taught and his three children also attended. He went directly to his wife’s classroom and she proceeded to explain the problem. It seems their eight year old son had been observed forcing his classmates into a line on the playground during recess. Others he was seen quickly running his hands over their bodies. The school principal had their son in his office, waiting for Alan and Becky to join him and give an explanation of this odd behavior coming from an otherwise likable and obedient student.

You see, our son had just completed police academy training, and had been demonstrating his new found skills to his children at home. His son was so fascinated by the techniques and procedures that he evidently decided to imitate his dad at school that day.

The whole thing was funny to me. Not so funny to the school principal. And not funny at all to my daughter-in-law.

Heroes in the Home

But the truth is, our children often mimic what they see or hear from their parents. Most of them see Mom and Dad as their heroes and want to imitate their behaviors. We’ve all seen the little boy standing next to his dad with his arms crossed over his chest and one hip cocked out, a perfect miniature of his dad’s posture as he talks to his neighbor or friend. Or the tiny female who intently watches Mommy put on her makeup, and then when her mother is busy on the phone, little Miss Wannabe proceeds to smear eyeshadow and lipstick from north to south.

Now, if Mom and Dad’s lifestyle is wholesome and a positive influence, their child learns great lessons for life. But if their actions are not-so-wholesome, and the words coming out of their mouths are prejudiced, angry and hateful, then we have a probable recipe for their little one growing up to live a life of dissatisfaction and pain.

Hatred and bias are not inborn in any of us, these emotions and behavior are taught and caught. A wee newborn, only hours from his mother’s womb, has no malice or dislike for another human being.  And if you watch toddlers playing together, there is no prejudice based on skin color or language. They simply play, until they both want the same toy, then you can see a battle born from the innate selfish trait of “IT’S MINE, AND I WANT IT!!!”

We Are Always Watched

Adults, we need to remember we are all teachers in our own way, because we are always being watched and mimicked, whether we realize it or not. We have to be cautious and on our guard…we are the adults and that comes with responsibilities.

Our little grandson was instructed that his behavior while trying to be just like Dad was not acceptable at school. And our police officer son got an effective reminder that kids are like dry eager sponges, absorbing whatever is lived in front of them. It is a lesson that we all should remember, “Kids learn what they live with.”

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