Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery

A couple of days ago while waiting for Will to get home from work Liam said, “When daddy gets home I am going to do yard work with him.” When Will arrived home he mowed the lawn and Liam was right next to him pushing his plastic Fisher Price mower. It was so precious to watch. After Will was done he went into the garage to put the chain back on his chainsaw. Liam went inside to get his toolbox and alongside Will “helped” him fixed it. It was so heartwarming and touching to watch.

Ava just recently got a new doll in which I noticed at various times during the day she had the doll sitting right next to her, wrapped up in blanket for a nap, and sitting with her during breakfast to eat. It is so cute and funny how quick kids begin imitation play. This kind of reenactment is important for children’s development as this is a part of the learning process of how things work and how things are done.

This all brings me to yesterday in which I read an article about two children suspended for the rest of the school year (3 days) because they turned rulers into play guns. On one hand I can understand the school’s thinking on this. Considering since the Sandy Hook shooting there have been 74 more school shootings, the zero tolerance method needs to be put in place. As I mentioned above children learn things through imitation and it is not just from parents but from their peers and television. I am sure these young children were just playing and had no intention of ill will towards anyone, however I also doubt these children truly grasped the idea what pointing those rulers and yelling bang bang at each other meant (the kids were in first grade). I am not pinning all school shootings on children pretending to play with guns because I believe there is much bigger problem at hand (mental illness, etc) however there needs to be some responsibility on our part. Sadly kids do not realize the true impact of their actions or how grave the consequences can be.

On the other hand I don’t believe “giving detention to the whole class when only a few kids were misbehaving,” is an ok approach either. “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.” I remember vividly when I was in fourth grade I was suppose to go on a class trip the circus. Two days before the class trip we had a substitute and several kids misbehaved. When the teacher came back the day before the class trip she canceled our trip as punishment for the bad behavior. More recently at work our HR department has come up with a lot of stringent rules regarding our dress code, cell phone usage, Internet usage, how long are breaks can be, because some people have a hard time deciphering what is appropriate and not appropriate. I’m so tired of being lumped in with all the bad kids.

The key is responsibility. If parents are responsible and behave properly they will teach children the correct way of behaving. The kids will automatically imitate the responsible and good behavior. I grew up in a household that had guns and to this day I would not know how to gain access to it. My father was extremely responsible and respectful in knowing the gravity of what the power guns can possess. I used firearms as an example for this post however; my intention was more to use it as an illustration and less of political statement. Just recently I noticed Liam shaking his finger at me when he got really upset and I realize he got that from me. I love watching Liam and Ava as they get older and learn new things. But it’s also fun to see how they try to be like my husband and I. I know we are not perfect by any means. I’m sure they will pick up some bad habits along the way. But if we can at least instill some sense of responsibility in them that is one thing I will be very comfortable with then imitating.

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