Sep 192012

There’s a particular 3 year old who loves to come in to my office and inspect the ‘machines’ I have.  He checks to make sure the calculator, adding machine, computer mouse, bicycle pump and leaf blower are all in their places.  We talk about who they belong to and what they are for and if he can ‘have’ them.  He usually leaves my office with the calculator in hand, but, sometimes, he gets to play with the leaf blower.  These are VERY special days.


The first time I watched him with the leaf blower, I was struck by how he used it. Instead of asking to plug it in or flipping the power switch, he pulled an invisible starter cord over and over again. It suddenly became very clear: even though the leaf blower in his hands had no starter cord, he had seen one being started that way and that had become part of his script for using a leaf blower.

The power of observation is strong with this one.

  I know from talking with his parents that this little guy is obsessed with their gardener.  He watches him intently and takes note of every thing he does.

I wonder if that gardener is aware that he is an example, that his actions are being studied and mimicked.

“Be imitators” the Bible says.  No need to tell kids.  They got this.

This brings up two questions: Who is imitating you?  Who are you imitating?

 Posted by at 20:46

  2 Responses to “Imitation”

  1. Great illustration and ‘teachable moment’!

    Nepotism aside, I love how you have zeroed in on the heart of imitation. You can never tell what will strike the heart of a person. For the D Man, it’s gardeners right now. They have no idea, but I do.

    I can hold them responsible for their example. So the flipside of imitation is accountability. Who do you hold responsible for the example that they, knowingly or not, are setting.

    Keep writing. Don’t stop. You have wonderful perspective and a great voice.

  2. Left a comment a moment ago, but I guess it didn’t stick.

    I love the illustration and perspective. D Man loves him some gardener and they have no idea. Thanks for the window into the imagination of my son.

    It’s interesting that the gardeners don’t have any idea that they are being imitated, but I could let the know and help them rise to the occasion. The flipside of imitation is being held accountable to the example you are setting. So another question we could ask is, “Who are you holding accountable for their example?”

    Equally as important to be aware of that.

    Keep writing. Don’t stop. You have great perspective and a wonderful voice.