Several years ago, I attended a workshop on teaching children to read. The instructor, Jim Stone, said that studies show that babies begin to mimic within the first hour that they are born. Those conducting the study took photographs of adults making different expressions then put the photos inside the bassinets of the babies. Within minutes the babies were trying to mimic the different expressions on the faces close to theirs.
I visualized 50 babies in the hospital nursery doing their best to mimic what was in front of them:
Since that workshop, I’ve been much more aware of babies and small children mimicking. A newborn baby has no control over what his arms or legs do – flailing wilding – yet it can control its tongue and mouth. (Irony that it switches when we’re adults, isn’t it? We can control our arms and legs but have difficulty controlling our mouth. It’s a conundrum.) It can be daunting knowing that babies and children mimic us so carefully.
The Lord commanded, “Follow me” (Luke 9:23) and promised He is the life and light of the world. Even as babies we’re really good at mimicking, and He gives us the perfect example to follow. One look at the chart above and we see that confident, happy, and hopeful are so much more attractive than hysterical, enraged, and smug. May we all “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47) during this critical time when we need a perfect example to mimic.