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ECHO     6'?m3f Parenting by example, breaking addictions

(scene: two chairs facing audience)

MENTOR -- (enters reading Bible, strolls, ponders)

(sound cue: knock, knock, knock)

MENTOR -- Come in. It's open.

PARENT & CHILD -- (enter opposite)

MENTOR -- Oh, Elizabeth, I was just thinking about calling you.
Please come in.

PARENT & CHILD -- (child copies Parent's every word with half
word delay and exaggerates Parent's gestures) Amy, you've got to
help me!

MENTOR -- What's wrong?

PARENT & CHILD -- This (point to each other) is what's wrong.
She repeats everything I say. She won't give me a moment's
peace. I can't make her stop.

MENTOR -- She's really good at it isn't she?

PARENT & CHILD -- I thought it was cute at first. But this
constant echo is really getting on my nerves! Look how she mocks
me!

MENTOR -- Isn't that interesting?!

PARENT & CHILD -- This may be interesting to you. But it's
driving me to distraction! (nose to nose) Stop it! I said, stop
it! (pace in lock step) See what I mean? She won't mind me, she
won't respond to anything I say. All she does is parrot
everything I say and do.

MENTOR -- Well, this fits right in with what I wanted to talk to
you about.

PARENT & CHILD -- You wanted to talk to me? (nose to nose) She's
talking to me, not to you. Can you just be quiet for a moment
while I have a conversation with Amy?

MENTOR -- Katy, can you please go into the den (points to exit)
and watch TV for a few minutes, dear?

CHILD -- (nods, turns to exit) Sure.

PARENT & CHILD -- You know, I love her dearly, but I...
Nevermind.

CHILD -- (exits)

MENTOR -- (points to chair) Please, have a seat.

PARENT & CHILD -- So, what do you want to talk to me about?

MENTOR -- (sitting) Katy, can you close the door, dear?

CHILD -- Oh, sure.

(optional sound cue: door closes)

MENTOR -- (pauses, looks to exit) I wanted to talk to you
about... about parenting.

PARENT -- About parenting?

MENTOR -- Yes.

PARENT -- What about parenting?

MENTOR -- Children emulate their parent's behavior.

PARENT -- You're telling me?

MENTOR -- You know what I mean.

PARENT -- I do?

MENTOR -- Children not only pick up your language, they also
pick up your behaviors and your values.

PARENT -- (stands, turns away) I'm not sure I know what you
mean.

MENTOR -- I think you do.

PARENT -- Just what exactly did you have in mind?

MENTOR -- I have in mind certain inappropriate relationships.

PARENT -- How did you know about that?

MENTOR -- This is a small town.

PARENT -- Who told you?

MENTOR -- You're asking the wrong question.

PARENT -- What question should I be asking?

MENTOR -- You should be asking "What will happen if Katy finds
out about your inappropriate relationships?"

PARENT -- (turns) You're not going to tell her, are you?!

MENTOR -- I'm not. But you can't hide it from her forever.
She'll find out sooner or later and when she does, will you want
to see her echoing that behavior too?

PARENT -- She's too young for that! She would never...

MENTOR -- She may not echo the behavior NOW. But your behavior
plants seeds in her mind. And sooner or later, you'll see your
behavior in full bloom in your daughter. Would you like to see
your daughter engage in inappropriate relationships?

PARENT -- (crosses arms, sits) No, of course not.

MENTOR -- Would you like to see your daughter engage in some of
your other addictions?

PARENT -- You know about those too?!

MENTOR -- If people talk to me, people will talk to your
daughter.

PARENT -- What have I done?!

MENTOR -- Nothing that can't be UNDONE before SHE starts to echo
your bad behaviors.

PARENT -- (stands, paces) I'll break the relationships. I'll
quit the addictions. Katy will never know...

MENTOR -- You make it sound easy.

PARENT -- Well, I started it. I can finish it.

MENTOR -- Why do you think they call them addictions? If you
could have quit, you would have quit by now, wouldn't you?

PARENT -- (stops, sighs) I... I suppose. But what can I do? I...

MENTOR -- Come to my group on Friday night.

PARENT -- YOUR group?

MENTOR -- Yes.

PARENT -- You mean that meeting you go to on Fridays is... is...

MENTOR -- We help each other break addictions and inappropriate
relationships.

PARENT -- You?! I thought you were a Christian!

MENTOR -- I didn't stop being human when I made my commitment to
Christ. My Friday group is all Christians who admit we need help
in being good examples to our children. We started the group
when I found out "I" was going to be a parent for the first
time.

PARENT -- Well, I'll be! I would have never... You're just like
me... So, I can... I can kick the habits too?!

MENTOR -- If you admit you need help.

PARENT -- (long pause) Yes. Yes, I do need help. MY own best
efforts so far have just made me ashamed of my example to my
daughter. Can I come to your meeting on Friday night?

MENTOR -- We'd love to have you join us! (hugs)

PARENT -- I'll be there. (turn, shouts) Katy, it's time to go,
dear. (to Mentor) Oh, oh, I came over here to ask you what to do
about...

CHILD -- (echos) Katy, it's time to go, dear.

PARENT -- ...that.

MENTOR -- I'm sure it's just a passing phase.

PARENT & CHILD -- I'm not so sure.

MENTOR -- As you found out, breaking bad habits requires a
little incentive.

PARENT & CHILD -- What did you have in mind?

MENTOR -- (guides them to exit) Maybe you could offer her a
little ice cream on the way home if she will...

CHILD -- Did you say ice cream?!

PARENT -- (echos) Did you say ice cream?!

CHILD & PARENT -- Mother, are you mocking me? Stop repeating
what I say. Mother! Mother, stop that!

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