I read an article online this week that I want to share with you today, but it also got me to thinking.
I’m sure you can relate to this in some way.
Your coworker or neighbor or family member is the most bubbly, caring person on the team, on the block, in the family. She goes out of her way to help others. She is always passing out sincere compliments. She strives every day to show a good work ethic and set that example for others. You know her home life is rough, but you also know she never loses her smile. How do you feel in her presence?
You have another coworker or neighbor or family member. He is grumpy and self-centered. He uses foul language. He rarely has anything positive to say. He is constantly talking poorly about others. He’s always late. He always has excuses, and nothing is ever his fault. How do you feel in his presence?
The longer we are around someone, or in a certain situation, the more likely we are to mimic what we observe.
Have you ever known anyone to move away, say to the south, where they have that southern drawl? You don’t talk to them for a while and when you finally do, you notice they have a slight ‘accent’. Where did that come from?
According to a 2010 study by a research group at the University of California, Riverside, people subconsciously mimic other accents due to a phenomenon called "the chameleon effect". The chameleon effect describes our human instinct to “empathize and affiliate” with other people.
The Bible puts it another way.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
A study published in the March 2006 issue of “Personality and Individual Differences” had twenty-two people, divided equally between male and female, judge the looks, personalities, and ages of 160 married couples.
The participants viewed photographs of men and women separately and were not told who was married to whom. The subjects consistently judged people who were married as being similar in appearance and personality. The researchers also found that couples who had been together longer appeared more similar.
If a man will come to look like his bride by staring at her over the years, how much more will the bride of Christ come to look like Christ by beholding Him. – joshhunt.com
It’s a simple fact. We mimic what we see and hear and think.
There is that old childhood song, O Be Careful Little Eyes. It has sound advice, not only for children but for adults as well.
O be careful little eyes what you see O be careful little eyes what you see For there’s a Father up above And He’s looking down in love So, be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little ears what you hear… O be careful little tongue what you say… O be careful little hands what you do… O be careful little feet where you go… O be careful little heart whom you trust… O be careful little mind what you think…
And that leads me to the inspiration behind today’s writing. This was written by Elissa Hope Andersen and posted July 20, 2022.
Parents, hear my heart: don’t expose your kids to scary things. Your eight-year-old does not need to be watching Stranger Things, you’re 10-year-old doesn’t need to see It 2. Your 4-year-old doesn’t need to see Thor: Love and Thunder. Your 7 year old doesn’t need to play Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Fear is a dangerous thing. You, the adult, might be able to watch it and brush it off, but I promise your child can’t. I work with kids all the time. I hear it. I hear the “want to know the nightmare I had last night?” And “I couldn’t sleep last night because I was scared.”
I always ask, “what made you afraid?” The answer Every. Single. Time. Is something they watched or played.
A parent’s job is to protect the innocence of the child. Letting them play Hello Neighbor is not protecting them. Letting them watch Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is tearing away their innocence.
We are weakest when we are fearful. That’s when the devil comes in easily.
Please censor what your child watches and plays. I know they will whine; they will complain, they will cry and beg to watch and play what their friends do, what you do. But it matters. It does matter. It matters more than you truly know.
It’s so hard for a child to overcome fear. They already feel like there are so many things they can’t control. Emotions are hard to navigate as a kid. Don’t make it harder on them by allowing fear into their lives.
Adults need to do the hard things, so kids don’t have to.