Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who is Following You?

If you read my recent post about Bethany's birthday, you may have picked up on the fact that 5-year-old Bethany had a list of special things she wanted to do with Ashlyn while she was home for the weekend. The interesting thing is that most of the activities on that list were things that Ashlyn enjoys doing. Things like taking a walk, going for a run, taking a nap, and riding bikes. Why would Bethany want to do those things??

Obviously, she loves and admires Ashlyn and wants to be just like her, so she wants to do the things that she sees Ashlyn enjoying. That is why she got up and put on her "running shoes" and some shorts and a T-shirt -- she wanted to dress the same way she sees Ashlyn dressed when she goes running. (What a blessing that Ashlyn isn't one of those girls who run down the streets wearing only short spandex shorts and a sports bra!!!)

After running, "they" rode bikes "together."

Later that evening, when Bethany opened her gifts, she was delighted to receive these pajama pants for her birthday. Why? Because she sees the big girls (and boys) wearing pajama pants around the house and she wants to be like them! That is also why she wants to "hang out" with her older brothers and sisters, "text" Joe on her toy cell phone, and sit beside me on my bed typing on her pink "puter."

Looking at our children is often very much like looking into a mirror, which can be scary, especially if we do not like what we see! Children will copy everything they observe, down to facial expressions, gestures, attitudes, habits, choices of words, and our likes and dislikes for foods, subjects, and all kinds of activities.

That is why God has instructed us to follow our Heavenly Father in the same way that children naturally imitate their parents: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." -- Ephesians 5:1 (KJV).

I just wonder if we are confident enough of our example to say as Paul did, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ." -- 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV). And then again here: "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." Philippians 3:17 (NKJV).

It is very sobering to think of all the eyes that watch us as we live our lives. Our children and eventually our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, our neighbors, the youth and young women from our church, even readers of our blogs -- these are some of the folks who observe our habits, our words, our attitudes, our passions . . . and may be following us.

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