As I spent some time with my four-year-old today, it struck me how much he aims to be like me, for better or worse. I recoiled in the car when I told him we’d be staying for Sunday School (something we haven’t done in a while with a new baby) and he exclaimed, “Shut the front door!” Martyn followed suit, like a little parrot.
It reminded me how aware I have to be about who’s watching my life. We walked from the car to the house and I turned to my left to spit; I looked down to catch my son’s eyes lifted up to me then turn, in sync, and spit to his left. He gazed back at me for approval.
The reality is, we’re creatures of imitation. None of us are originally creative in the purest sense of the word. Instead, we work more like mirrors, reflecting what has already been formed by the Creator. Ultimately we are made to reflect God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7).
Paul continually said things like “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). And in Hebrews we are called to remember our leaders and to imitate their faith (13:7). But who are we imitating? Who are our kids imitating? Characters from TV shows? Star-studded entertainers who tend to lack any moral compass whatsoever?
I’m reflecting today on this question: ‘Who am I imitating in my life? Who do I want to become?’ And of course the answer has ripple effects for every relationship in my life but particularly my children. Am I conscientiously striving to become like those who are becoming more like Christ? Am I spending my time with them, listening to them and watching their life?
It’s a sobering thing to turn around and see the three-foot person mimicking your every move, but it is also a vast opportunity to lead them into Christ’s kingdom. How will we use our God-given opportunity today?