Monkey See, Monkey Do!
Have you ever heard the expression, "monkey see, monkey do"? If you have ever been to a zoo and watched the chimpanzees and monkeys, you know that they will watch people and often imitate their actions. People watch each other too, and often we try to copy each other's behavior, speech, clothing, mannerisms, and abilities. Imitating others is how we learn to speak, walk, make faces, sing, play ball, and many other things. If you have younger brothers or sisters, you know that they have learned much from watching you and from following your example.
But others can also learn bad things from watching us and imitating our actions. People are watching you almost all of the time—even when you aren't aware of it. Just as you are learning by watching others, others are learning by watching YOU!
The apostle Paul wrote to a young friend named Timothy to remind him that his example was very important. Here is some of the good advice that Paul gave Timothy: "Let no one despise your youth (look down upon you because you are young), but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (I Timothy 4:12). Are you careful not to use bad language or speak God's name in a disrespectful way? Are you careful not to lie or say bad things about others when they are not around? Do you try to be on your best behavior—even when you don't feel like it? Do you try to treat other kids with fairness and respect—no matter how they dress, or what color their skin is? Do you try to read your Bible and pray every day? Do you stay away from books, movies, and television shows which can give you bad thoughts?
Paul also told Timothy, "Take heed to yourself...," which means work hard to be the best young person you can be so that you can be the best possible example to other kids (read I Timothy 4:16). This is very good advice for allpeople to follow!