tr.v. im·i·tat·ed, im·i·tat·ing, im·i·tates
1. To use or follow as a model.
2. To copy the actions, appearance, mannerisms, or speech of; mimic: amused friends by imitating the teachers or to copy or use the style of: brushwork that imitates Rembrandt.
3. To copy exactly; reproduce.
4. To appear like; resemble.
I LOVE children! One of my greatest pleasures is to spend time with kids at church. Yesterday was a bad day at work – actually it’s been a bad week and I wasn’t really feeling the drive to Gallatin until I remembered the kids. I walked into choir and told them I had had a bad day and was looking to them to cheer me up. They didn’t let me down. Of course it could have been the fact that one of them told me I looked 30 (I’m 53. I love you Clifford!) As I reflected on that statement on the drive home feeling pretty proud of myself, I realized that 30 to a 10 year old is pretty old. (Still love you Clifford!)
Anyway, we were rehearsing for Christmas and we started up the first song. I totally botched the hand motions – all of them – through the whole song. I apologized to the kids and sweet little Joshua raised his hand and said “Aren’t you glad we didn’t follow you that time?” You see they got it right – I was wrong. I have told them repeatedly: “watch me and do what I do and if I get it wrong – everyone gets it wrong together.” This time, I was way wrong.
As I reflected on that I couldn’t help but think how many times I had gotten things wrong in life when my own kids were watching. Children watch every move you make, and they don’t miss a thing. They like nothing better than to mimic those around them – especially a parent who lets that one word slip or loses their temper that one time. I tried so hard to do and say the right things in front of my kids, but I still had some moments where I totally and unequivocally failed. One thing I did learn early on was to never hesitate to apologize to my kids. When those moments rolled around and I was slapping my head thinking what did I just do, I would first fall to my knees and ask God’s forgiveness immediately followed by asking my kids to forgive me. Thank you Lord for making kids spirits so sweet and so forgiving.
So many parents want to produce mini-mes, but we are all human and we are all flawed. I encourage you guys as parents to be good examples but to point your kids to copy Christ, not you. He is the one true example of what we should become. Let’s not be too proud to admit to our kids that we make mistakes but just like them, we are trying to be Christ-like. I can assure you from my own experience, that your will not only get forgiveness from your children, you will also gain their respect.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2