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SeiserL 11-07-2010 08:42 PM

Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
1 Attachment(s)
Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

I must admit that I tend to agree with Charles Barkley when he says that he is a basketball player and not a role model. I would hate to think that someone would end up like me. When I became a father I realized I needed to clean up my act and must admit that it helped me a lot. Unfortunately, my sons still ended up a lot like me. I have already apologized to them several times.

Vicarious observational learning takes place often unconsciously through imitation and identification. It is very powerful. Advertising media uses it all the time. They have associated the unrelated facts that if we use their product we will be thin, attractive, smart, cool, and drive the right car while being very well dressed. All this just for purchasing and consuming their product.

This is a lot like a hologram, we don't just get a part of the message, we get all of it. There is some new research that proposes that the brain contains internal mirror-neurons that fire in association to external stimulation. If we watch an elite athlete learning a new skill or warming-up we will see their associated mental rehearsal with the event. Neurologically the brain does not know the difference between actual events and those of fantasy. Repeated fantasizing of mental rehearsal can imbed a new belief or behavior.

It happens in families all the time. As a counselor I am often asked to work with adolescents who have an attitude problem. When I meet their parents I see exactly where they learned their behavior. Membership has the entry criterion. The learned ego is based on imitation and identification. We have to be careful who we follow and mindful of those following us.

When my wife first saw a video tape of my old FMA/JKD instructor (Ted Lucauylucauy) she said that he moved just like I do. I corrected her by admitting I moved like him. This was a compliment to me (sorry Ted). When you see my Aikido, you see some of who taught me (Sensei Dang Thong Phong). Only he is so much better at it then I am. We behave, feel, and think a lot like those who taught us how to behave, feel, and think.

Modeling: to plan or form after a pattern/shape, to produce a representation to simulation, to construct in imitation

We don't have to say anything to been seen and accepted as a role model. It's often not our choice, but the choice of those looking for something and we just happen to be in their line of vision. The same goes for those we modeled after. We choose them. Perhaps that choice reflects some inner need in us. We model after those who match our needs, wants, and desires. Perhaps we project what we want our models to be and never see who they really are, This projection often leads to some real disappointments and disillusionments when we realize that our role models are not who we idealize they are but are just humans with all their human faults and frailties.

Mentoring: entrusted with the education, a trusted counselor or guide, a tutor or coach

In program we often use the cliché of walking the talk. Walking is our modeling. Talking is our mentoring. Just as people tried to save us some misery of self-learning, we too will share our experience and perspective in the hopes of helping others. Perhaps some just do it to sound intelligent and wise and gain respect. You can tell a great mentor because it is more important to them that you be impressed with who you are and what you can do than who they are and what they can do. A mentor wants the student to surpass the teacher. A mentor is like a catalyst to a chemical reaction that facilitates the change but does not really remain a part of it.

Mindfulness: bearing in mind, inclined to be aware, the art of staying conscious and aware of the present

Perhaps I don't have a very positive view of us as a human species because I think most of us are simply creatures of habit on automatic pilot. Whatever we were taught (through unconscious modeling and mentoring) we repeat without questioning for the next generation who model after us. This is how information can be transmitted and replicated without alteration. However, I am also aware of the old children's game of gossip by passing a message around a circle only to find out in the end that it is entirely different than it began. Perhaps this is why things get lost in translation and transmission.

Perhaps if we all became more mindful of our models and mentors and more mindful of those who choose us as their models and mentors, we could communicate with more clarity, conviction, and compassion.

Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!

crbateman 11-08-2010 05:17 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Hello Lynn-san... I like what you have written. We are all products of the input we receive from any interaction, times the effect that we derive from it. It gives each of us the ability to be both mentor and learner in most any situation. While some might argue the point, I think that in any encounter there exists both the opportunity to teach and to learn. What we do with these opportunities is what distinguishes each of us.

Your example of Charles Barkley describing himself as "not a role model" has got me thinking. Is it really within his power to decide this? Or, is it more a function of how others might view him? I think that being a role model comes with the territory with celebrity or notoriety. Mr. Barkley may not want to feel any responsibility for the results of others who might look at him as an example, but I don't think he has any way to prevent them from doing so. It's human nature to be imitative, particularly of those who are successful, and especially if that success comes seemingly in spite of themselves or the status quo. I, for one, have much more respect for those who accept and embrace that unique opportunity to be helpful to others.

Thanks again for the thoughtful article. Looking forward to sharing time and space.

SeiserL 11-08-2010 07:50 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Clark Bateman wrote: (Post 267858)
Your example of Charles Barkley describing himself as "not a role model" has got me thinking. Is it really within his power to decide this? Or, is it more a function of how others might view him?

Yes agreed.

Others choose to see us as role models whether we like it or not.

Many of us would prefer not to be, believing that there are so many others so much more worthy of leading the way.

But ultimately, we must be mindful that we are following others and others are following us.

Darn!!!

Rei, Domo.

jonreading 11-08-2010 10:38 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
When Charles Barkley made those comments in the early nineties, professional athletes had not yet become sensationalized in the media for their...err... mistakes in judgement. The comment was controversial because many people still believed in the ethics of athletes. Athletes shook hands after playing, didn't take steroids, liked children and old people and signed autographs for free. Heck, some one might even hit a home run for a sick kid. Now if you ask for player stats you have to clarify between home runs and arrests.

I rant because sometimes we do not realize how much our actions speak for our character, nor do we realize what parts of our character resonate with those around us. There are many basketball players who can dunk a basketball - what Charles Barkley didn't realize was his popularity in the sport was the result of his character as much as his abilities (if not more than).

Humans are fallible. It's not when we fall from grace, but how we stand up after falling. The bigger the mistake, the harder we fall. One of the burdens leaders bear is to appreciate that responsibility. One of the burdens society bears is to mantle the proper leaders.

SeiserL 11-08-2010 01:02 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 267869)
Humans are fallible. It's not when we fall from grace, but how we stand up after falling. The bigger the mistake, the harder we fall. One of the burdens leaders bear is to appreciate that responsibility. One of the burdens society bears is to mantle the proper leaders.

I can model failure well and without much thought.

Randy Sexton 11-10-2010 05:38 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Thanks for the insight. I liked the line "waklng is our modeling, talking is our mentoring"
Doc Sexton

SeiserL 11-10-2010 03:21 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Randy Sexton wrote: (Post 268039)
I liked the line "walkng is our modeling, talking is our mentoring"

Osu Doc,

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

Talk is important. Many of the principles in Aikido would never have made it to my consciousness if some one had not told me about it. I do tend to lead with my head.

Walk is also important. It lets me know its possible.

I need to know its possible and I need to know how.

Then the discipline is up to me.

Looking forward to sharing space and time again.

Rei, Domo.

Susan Dalton 11-10-2010 04:27 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Jon said:
"When Charles Barkley made those comments in the early nineties, professional athletes had not yet become sensationalized in the media for their...err... mistakes in judgement. The comment was controversial because many people still believed in the ethics of athletes. Athletes shook hands after playing, didn't take steroids, liked children and old people and signed autographs for free. Heck, some one might even hit a home run for a sick kid. Now if you ask for player stats you have to clarify between home runs and arrests."

It's none of my business, but how old are you Jon? When I went to college in the 70's, I saw atrocious behavior by some athletes because they had been taught that the rules did not apply to them. Because they were gifted, they were special, and some believed they could do as they pleased.

One thing I like about aikido is that with improvement comes responsibility. And, no matter how good you are, you still clean the mat.
Susan

SeiserL 11-11-2010 09:47 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Susan Dalton wrote: (Post 268079)
One thing I like about aikido is that with improvement comes responsibility. And, no matter how good you are, you still clean the mat.

Yes agreed.
And many will mentor that this is the lesson to be learned.
Few will actually model that they have learned it.
On and off the mat, always mindful.
Thanks for reading and responding.

jonreading 11-11-2010 11:46 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

I can model failure well and without much thought.
I love it.

As for the question about my age, I am in my mid thirties. In response to the statement,
Quote:

I saw atrocious behavior by some athletes because they had been taught that the rules did not apply to them. Because they were gifted, they were special, and some believed they could do as they pleased.
I couldn't agree more. But the point to which I was referring was that Charles Barkley was the first athlete to say Your kids should not idolize us - we are athletes, not heroes. The comment was made not because it was the first time an athlete was caught doing something stupid, but because the media's "new" methodology of de-constructing celebrities was casting a poor light on athletes.

The argument should not be, "well, this behavior has been going on for XX years..." the argument should be, "this behavior is unacceptable. It was unacceptable 20 years ago, and it is unacceptable now." The sad part of the story is we are not saying this.

SeiserL 11-11-2010 02:03 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268101)
The argument should not be, "well, this behavior has been going on for XX years..." the argument should be, "this behavior is unacceptable. It was unacceptable 20 years ago, and it is unacceptable now." The sad part of the story is we are not saying this.

I am saying that.
Walk the talk.
We all already know the right things to do.
So lets just do it.

Fred Little 11-11-2010 03:13 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268101)
The argument should not be, "x." the argument should be, "y."

Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

George S. Ledyard 11-11-2010 06:14 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

Hi Fred,
While I get what you are saying, I think I'd like to put in a plug for the positive argument. I think most people are extremely dependent, social beings. They are essentially herd, or perhaps more kindly, tribal beings. Most folks want leadership. If you don't give them good leaders, they will follow bad ones.

So, when folks make statements about the way they think things should be and perhaps shouldn't be, I think it becomes part of the process of people actually deciding what it is that they think. The last thing one would want, in my opinion, is to have everyone as a "ditto head" for lack of a better message being put out there.

The quote, typically attributed to Edmund Burke but really a paraphrase, I think says it...
Quote:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
So, in a further distortion of the original I would say that all that is needed for bad ideas to flourish is for no one to state the good ones. Which is the only reason I can see to "fight the good fight" here on the forums.

Sure, let's be realistic, who doesn't like it when the choir gives you the big amen? But I do believe it is more than that. And one really needs to be very Zen about such things, putting the ideas out there with no particular attachment to whether anyone agrees or not.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 05:52 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir.

There's an Aikido choir? How come no ones tells me about these things?

IMHO, as a therapist I often find that people are struggling to find the rights answers because they are asking the wrong questions.

IMHO, "should" just usually means it isn't the way I want it to be. We "should" be better role models an mentors means we already know that its not that way and we are falling short.

I do believe we/I can do better.

Thoughts?

SeiserL 11-12-2010 05:59 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268115)
And one really needs to be very Zen about such things, putting the ideas out there with no particular attachment to whether anyone agrees or not.

Osu Sensei,

I wouldn't know what to do with agreement. Usually I am uncomfortable with it. I often just state/share what I perceive.

Agreement just means it matches for someone. Disagreement just means it doesn't. Its not right/wrong or good/bad. Each statement is only personal about that person's experience.

BTW, since I don't play well with others, I tend not to sing in choirs. A long time ago there were a couple Detroit rock/blues bands though.

Fred Little 11-12-2010 10:21 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote: (Post 268115)
Hi Fred,
While I get what you are saying, I think I'd like to put in a plug for the positive argument. I think most people are extremely dependent, social beings. They are essentially herd, or perhaps more kindly, tribal beings. Most folks want leadership. If you don't give them good leaders, they will follow bad ones.

So, when folks make statements about the way they think things should be and perhaps shouldn't be, I think it becomes part of the process of people actually deciding what it is that they think. The last thing one would want, in my opinion, is to have everyone as a "ditto head" for lack of a better message being put out there.

George,

I agree entirely with the need for an affirmative argument, the need for positive examples, and the purity of the impulse that often lies at the root of a "should/should not" argument.

It's simply that my experience is that presenting binary choices -- with one of the two framed negatively-- alienates many of the people that need to be brought along.

Framed positively, I find that aspiration to best practices can be encouraged effectively. Framed negatively, I find that acknowledging that the world is a messed up place and that harm reduction is a worthy undertaking that may be more effective than insistence on an idealized and unrealizable standard based in abstract moral/ethical considerations is sometimes the only place to start.

Or so a semi-reformed abuser of the "should/should not" construction advises....:D

Cheers,

FL

jonreading 11-12-2010 11:01 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
This is gonna to tangent the thread. I promise I'll try to bring things back...
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268109)
Dear Jon,

Without regard for the values for which the variables "x" and "y" may be place markers, or the broader subject under review, it has been my general experience that making arguments about what "should or should not" be the case rarely has much utility unless I'm looking for an amen from someone in my own choir. YMMV.

Best,

FL

My comments were in regards to re-aligning an argument that was heading towards permissive reasoning. I do not believe in permissive reasoning (Mom, can I jump off the roof? Jimmy down the street did it...).

Specifically, I was arguing that just because athletes abused their status at some earlier point in time does not mean their behavior becomes excusable at a future point in time. If it is factual that athletes abused their status at an earlier point in time and at a later point in time and it is factual that society does not support that behavior, then the presumptive logic here implies that between these two points of time [society would have taken] corrective action was not successfully applied to curb the abusive behavior of athletes. I was re-constructing the argument for my point. Anywho...

However, I think that our moral stances are weakening, which was the reason I read this post. I think Lynn gave some great insight into this phenomena. Remember Catherine Genovese? She was the girl killed in NY while bystanders watched her murder. We now call this effect the bystander effect. Good people doing nothing...

Its easier to stand up when others stand with you; it is lonely when you're the only one. So we stop standing. We stop arguing with those who present counter arguments. We concede opinions to avoid confrontation. We spend a lot of energy excusing our actions. Ichi go, ichi e, right? I wonder how many residents from that Bronx neighborhood would've called the police if they could have a do-over?

Aristotle says there are three types of audiences to debate: those who agree with you, those who disagree with you, and those who are uncertain. Aristotle advocates arguing to those who are uncertain because those who agree with you are firm in their conviction and you will not convince those who have set their conviction against you. If you are talking to those with like-minds, you are not engaged in rhetoric.

Kevin Choate used to advocate students should complete every technique, regardless of if it was the correct technique or another technique. One time... right? How many of us aren't ready when we stand in front of our partners? How many of us should act, but don't?

Should is fine as look as you stand behind it.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 11:53 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Jon Reading wrote: (Post 268127)
Should is fine as look as you stand behind it.

Then its not a statement of what "should" be but a statement of what is.

I would rather stand alone than fall/fail with many.

Some things are just wrong and we need to courage to just say so. Likewise, some things are just right and we need the courage to act on them.

SeiserL 11-12-2010 11:59 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Fred Little wrote: (Post 268124)
Framed negatively, I find that acknowledging that the world is a messed up place and that harm reduction is a worthy undertaking that may be more effective than insistence on an idealized and unrealizable standard based in abstract moral/ethical considerations is sometimes the only place to start.

Yes agreed.

The world is a messed up place and in our humanness we are all a mess too.

Yes, those "idealized and unrealistic standards" are "the only place to start."

The decision is to walk in that direction and the daily discipline is to keep walking no matter what.

Barbara Knapp 11-13-2010 10:48 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
My experience is that it is very important to say and to hear others express a higher standard than many of us can achieve. Not in a critical or punitive way, which is what drives people apart - but just reminding ourselves that we are capable of being more than what we are, and that the standards remain even when we fail. In fact, I would suggest that a mentor who never made a mistake would be useless. It is their steadfastness and honesty that counts; their showing that anyone can get there from here.

Its important to speak up and act because its difficult to hang on to ideals when everyone around you seems to be denying them. We need a community, and its very difficult to be much better than the people around you. We are always creating the conditions for eachother to become a little better, or to do something we may really regret.

Isn't that one of the things aikido is about?

SeiserL 11-13-2010 11:17 AM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268157)
My experience is that it is very important to say and to hear others express a higher standard than many of us can achieve.

Isn't that one of the things aikido is about?

IMHO, aikido is only a tool or a context in which we can practice this.

If it is achievable for one of us, it is achievable for all of us.

It is not a "higher standard", but the standard.

We have to quit accepting "less than" from others and ourselves.

Thoughts?

Janet Rosen 11-13-2010 12:54 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268157)
In fact, I would suggest that a mentor who never made a mistake would be useless. It is their steadfastness and honesty that counts; their showing that anyone can get there from here.

The day the master seamstress who was my teacher came into class and confessed that the previous evening she had sewn in a sleeve inside out, I wanted to kiss her. Seriously, if folks put their mentor or teacher on a pedestal, then they remain acolytes, and never develop the mindset to let them become masters, mentors or teachers.

SeiserL 11-13-2010 01:37 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 268164)
Seriously, if folks put their mentor or teacher on a pedestal, then they remain acolytes, and never develop the mindset to let them become masters, mentors or teachers.

Most people figure that if I can do it (whatever it may be) then they certainly can.

Barbara Knapp 11-13-2010 02:55 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

If it is achievable for one of us, it is achievable for all of us.

It is not a "higher standard", but the standard.

Any thoughts?
A few:

Standards are there to work toward, not to be achieved once and for all? Everyone has bad days and good days. Failing is important. Its one of the things a mentor can teach. It is hard to do it well and gracefully.

I meant, that being good people depends in part on having/creating/sustaining a good community. also, that aikido practice, at least in part, is about demonstrating and experiencing compassion, and so creating a community that helps everyone grow.

I was in a class once where the teacher asked us to imagine we were a small village about to be attacked, and our survival depended on every single student being as skillful and strong as possible. Same thing, only different.

SeiserL 11-13-2010 05:25 PM

Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring
 
Quote:

Barbara Knapp wrote: (Post 268176)
Standards are there to work toward, not to be achieved once and for all?

This may be where we differ.

IMHO, standards (and high standards at that) are to be established, achieved, and maintained. That's the daily discipline.

Thoughts?


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