Monday, March 26, 2012

Power of role modeling

I witnessed first hand the power of role modeling over the weekend while cutting up some wood at a home down the road.  The homeowner's youngest son, Michael, decided to tag along, watch and learn while I was sawing up parts of the large oak tree into firewood sized pieces.  Being just a little guy of about three I couldn't always quite make out what he was saying, but I was impressed to watch what he was doing.  He observed my chain saw that I brought in a black case, hard hat, gas, oil and ear muffs. Before I knew it little Michael found a bright yellow hard hat somewhere in his house/garage that he proudly wore. A little while later I  noticed his pink ear muffs, likely from his older sister.  Next came a hacksaw, and soon after swim goggles for his eyes. Being a great observer Michael noticed that when I added gas and oil little,and so he dumped some dirt onto the top of his little silver hacksaw to fuel it up. Finally he produced a black nylon pouch to put it all his equipment in, akin to the chainsaw case.
Oak firewood

Little Michael's dad was thankful that I could help him get rid of a pretty sizable chunk of the oak tree that had fallen in his yard.  While he owned a chain saw, he didn't know how to go about sawing up a big tree without pinching the chain, etc.  I realized that I too was modeling behavior observed from my dad, who used to cut a whole lot of wood for the outdoor furnace they needed in order to heat their home in Bayfield, Wisconsin.  While I didn't often get a chance to operate the saw, I too was able to watch and learn.

This reminded me of "an old saw"... kids may or may not do what we tell them to do, but they are most likely to do what they see us doing.

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