Thursday, February 21, 2013

Born Imitators

There's no denying it. Our kids mirror the behaviors that have been displayed to them. Sometimes, to our dismay and humiliation. I remember the very first time that my two-year-old proclaimed "What the crap, Mom!" in a grocery store check-out line. I wanted to duck and hide, after I pretended I have NO IDEA where he got that phrase! We certainly don't talk that way at home!  On our way out the store, however, I found myself thinking What the crap am I doing to this kid?! His imitation of me was dead on.

Kids are natural-born imitators. I remember walking around the house as a young girl with my grandma's "spectacles" on. I couldn't see worth anything, but I thought that having them on made me appear wiser and more mature, like she was. As I grew into a young lady, I remember my little sister following me around everywhere I went. At the time, it was BEYOND annoying that she wanted to say everything I said and do everything that I did. Stop trying to be like me! I would tell her and gripe to my mother. The truth is, she saw something in me worth imitating. 

Today, I'll catch my sons watching my husband intently as he plays on the XBox or draws in his sketchbook.  My oldest has decided that he's going to be an "artist like daddy". It's adorable to watch him crawl up to the dining room table and begin scribbling on a piece of construction paper with such vigor. It's precious to see my youngest creep up beside me at the bathroom sink, grab his toothbrush and attempt to brush his teeth as he watches me in the mirror. 

It's not so cute, however, when the things that they are imitating seem to be the most un-attractive parts of ourselves. I hear my oldest yelling and screaming at my youngest, threatening to "spank his booty" if he doesn't give him a certain toy back. And it's quite eye-opening when my youngest little dude pulls his chair up to his train table, sits his pretend laptop down in front of him and then glares at me as I walk by, "NO TALKING TO ME WHILE I WORK, MOMMY. This is 'portant stuff and I need it QUIET." I hang my head in shame because I know the way that must have felt to hear a similar version of that sentence coming out of my mouth. Not to mention the occasional What the crap, Mommy!, I don't care!, or Leave me alone for a second! that escapes from their lips and I realize in that moment that whether or not I am "worthy" of imitation, they will strive to be just like me. What a huge responsibility that I have to give them something worth imitating. 

1 Corinthians 11:1 says, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ."

The truth is, I want them to see less of me and more of God in me. That's not going to happen until I re-learn how to be an imitator myself. Until I shut my mouth and start speaking words of LOVE and not as many words of negativity. Until I develop behaviors that are worthy of replicating.  I want them to see me pray, see me study God's word, and most of all, see me have faith. This is a heritage worth passing on.  

1 comment:

  1. I am sure they are seeing a lot of good to imitate too from both of you. You are right though we must be better imitators ourselves. In order to imitate good you have to spend time observing and with to do it well. We need to do that with Christ.