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Imitation an Open Book for All to See

Imitation an Open Book for All to See

“Stop it,” she shouted. “Just stop it.”

Without turning toward the voice, I knew a copy-cat trooped behind our oldest daughter. Sure enough, a pip-squeak mimic echoed, “Stop it. Just stop it.”

“Mom,” my six-year-old, hands on hips pleaded, “Make her stop, please? She keeps repeating everything I say.”

Her younger sister sidled up next to us at the kitchen counter. She looked up at me, and a grin lighted her face. Her eyes rested on mine, then on her sister’s. The sparkle dimmed. Her expression grew confused, unsure, a little bewildered. Her wide smile dissolved.

I saw an awareness register in our three-year-old’s eyes that she’d done something that wasn’t appreciated. In those big blue eyes lingered a baffled hint of hurt and a touch of perplexed rejection. She thought mimicking everything her sister said was funny. She felt a little power in it. Now, the cleverness she’d been so sure of slowly dripped from her lips into a puddle of sorrow.

Although it’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’ve probably all experienced that it can also be annoying at the wrong time and in the wrong way.

If you are a parent, you’ve likely felt the humiliation at some time. Your child repeats something you’ve said or done, and it is both horrifying and humbling coming from a pint-sized replica. You realize it didn’t sound funny at all the second time around. Those little hearing ears, seeing eyes, and following footsteps teach us big folks a lesson.

We must be careful, or our lives will be an open book for the whole world.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7 (ESV)

Scripture uses the word “imitate” in a surprising number of passages. The disciple John encourages us to imitate what is good, not evil. (3 John 1:11) Paul writes we should be imitators of him, (1 Corinthians 11:1), because he imitates Christ. Peter the Apostle tells us to imitate Christ in our suffering. (1 Peter 2:21). Mimicking is certainly not all bad. We learn by imitation, but we fail by it as well.

Emulation of what is funny, cool, hot and “in” can lead any of us down paths better left unknown. Our children are especially susceptible.

Perhaps we are born copy-cats. After all, didn’t Jesus choose twelve disciples, followers to carry on after his death? Wasn’t that the plan since creation, that we would imitate the God who created and designed?

God’s Word instructs us about how and who to imitate. As parents, we are privileged to be both leaders and followers. We follow the leader Jesus. As leaders of our families, it’s our calling to examine who and what our children follow. We want them to follow Jesus. It’s our challenge to guide them in the right direction and toward helpful influences.

Who do they see us admire? What actions do we emulate?

According to the writer of Hebrews the leaders we are admonished to imitate were ones who spoke the word of God, lived it, and whose faith founded their way of life.

I can still hear that little voice today, “Stop it, just stop it.” It reminds me with a heart tug of two little girls and an important reminder.

Who do they see me imitate?

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves in Women’s Care at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks, Dear SYL!!! So convicting. Now we have grandchildren copying what we grandparents do & say!!

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