Imitation both unconscious and conscious is par excellence the educational method of the family. It is plain that a considerable part of the adaptation of living beings to their environment, i.e., of beings that are born plastic, is passed on from generation to generation through imitation. Were this not so, much if not all of the road traversed by one generation would have to be travelled by the next generation from the very beginning and without short-cuts. Consequently there would be little chance for the novel adaptation, the propitious individual variation, that constitutes progress.
ELSIE WORTHINGTON CLEWS PARSONS, The Family: An Ethnographical and Historical Outline