Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monkey see, monkey do.

For a long time, the message that loving our neighbors, and turning the other cheek has caused some to digest that message and put it into action while others have responded with disbelief and rejection. It turns out that we do indeed have a profound effect amongst our fellow humans both by what we say, either through words, body language, or action. We’ve captured this admonishment with a catchphrase: “What goes around comes around.”

When my daughter was a whole lot younger I read her a story called “Pig will and Pig won’t.” The story is what you’d imagine: one little piggy had a positive attitude and the other didn’t. She loved having that story read to her and I loved reading it. It wasn’t a Pollyanna story but a very practical one. As she grew, she retained that message and became a first-class doer of good deeds affecting many with her “we can do it together” spirit.

She is now a young adult and has continued with her positive attitude and affected the attitudes and perspectives of thousands with her Can Do spirit. You can taste a sample of what she puts out by going to her blog, The Intensional Life. The way we rear our children, either for the bad or good, is carried throughout life and our legacy is passed on.

Not only is there a meaningful social, political and spiritual impact of this Can Do attitude there is also a scientific basis for the ability to affect others. There is a part of our brain that perceives and reflects the mood, words, and deeds of those we share our lives with. That ability is based on a special set of neurons called “mirror neurons” With such a prevailing state of fear and despair, it is good to know that even one smile in the dark can light your world and mine. Monkey see monkey do.
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