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Monkey See, Monkey Do

monkey see monkey do

“Lectures often confuse our kids, but the example we set is crystal clear.”
– Zig Ziglar, Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World


I had a little (pleasant) reminder that little eyes are always watching whether I am aware of it or not. As a parent, I don’t usually know what settles into those little brains unless they bring it up in conversation. I just know that I try to be as good of an example as I can be…most of the time anyway.

Saturday, Allegra, Zola and I assembled a House Warming Basket for their mom, celebrating their new house. What I realized over the past few years, post-divorce, is that Divorce doesn’t end when the papers are signed. There are constant shifts, changes, and transitions that the girls have to go through. Each shift brings with it’s own questions and emotions. So, we have decided to celebrate the “milestones” because there is always something good in every situation even if it hurts a little. Am I a silver lining type of person? You betcha! There are days I am known to make lots of lemonade out of the lemons thrown at me!

A new house for Allegra and Zola is a big transition for them and their mom. Lots of feelings can come out as well as lots of questions. We chose to celebrate it this weekend by baking bread, writing out cards to their mom about how they felt about the house, and made it special. The girls used their special note cards with their name embossed on top. Allegra drew a picture of her, Zola, and their mom in front of their new house. To which, Zola turned to Allegra and asked: How come you didn’t draw Papa in the picture? Allegra took a deep breath and answered: Because we have 2 homes now Zola. Papa doesn’t live with Mama anymore.

Zola nods her head and watches move around between the kitchen, dining room, and craft area assembling the basket to bring over when we drop the girls. Tilting her head to look right at me she says, You know, Leaf, you are really nice! Thanking for make bread for me and my mom. 

It amazes me each day what they notice, what they need, and how they express themselves. My making simple bread with the girls for them and their mother meant a lot. It just reaffirms the fact that thinking & giving  from the heart makes a greater impact than anything else.

Sometimes, there can be a negative connotation to the phrase: You are too nice. It affects peoples comfort zones because it is a mirror to what they, themselves, could be capable of. I think there is a valid reason in asking what the motivation is “being nice”. Being nice with self-serving motivations is manipulative. Being nice just to be liked for what you can do for others is Naive. Nice is best served from the heart, with no expectations or assumptions. There is no emotion or ego attached to the act except that it was the nice thing to do.

Alex and I try very hard to keep a calm, but playful home for the girls. Addressing their roller coaster emotions, but not allowing those emotions to control the situation can be tricky. What makes it a bit easier is that they see us (him and I) having our own conversation, expressing our own feelings to each other calmly and openly. Slowly, they are learning to use their words to calmly express their feelings to each other. Does it always work? Do we have 3 little girls who sit around drinking pink tea discussing, intellectually,  how to share dolls or decide what to play? Um…no. They will learn, little by little, by what they see, hear or experience. They are our little monkeys ever watchful, ever getting into mischief!

“Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be.”
– David Bly

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