Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
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
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!