What Children See, Children Do

Powerful visual example of how children mimic what they see us as adults and parents do.  What a challenge to provide a model of virtue so that our influence is a positive one.  

Paul was confident that others would do well to model after him:

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

And he uses the same word to describe our using God himself as our model. 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  (Ephesians 5:1)

hoehner1.jpgSo we are to practice imitating good role models.  In his commentary on Ephesians, Dr. Harold Hoehner develops this thought exegetically for three pages.  He points out that the believers should be imitators of him and that believers should imitate other believers.  He summarizes that followers of Christ should be “gracious to one another as a reflection of Gods grace.”   When we imitate worthy models, “the result will be harmony and growth to the body of Christ.”  

It seems to me that imitation is the way we learn at the early stages of our development.  Children imitate their parental role models that they love and trust; then they imitate other role models that might not be so worthy.  Young Christians can learn a lot from older Christian models.  This is why discipleship and mentoring are so important to the young church leader.  I wish every young seminary graduate could sit under the tutelage of an experienced pastor for at least five years before taking on a senior leadership role.  More personally, I would like to lead the kind of life that my children could imitate and grow into virtuous mature followers of Christ.  Fortunately, they have all done a wonderful job of seeking out strong role models to learn from.  I am very grateful to be called their dad. 

3 Responses to What Children See, Children Do

  1. bjmmckee says:

    Unfortunately, I believe that in today’s world, it is very difficult for young folks, even those that sincerely seek, to find worthly role models even in our churches. When frequently they hear stories of trusted pastors and leaders being charged with a variety of unlawful and immoral actions, I believe that young people don’t know who to trust. It is hard for young people to realize that these trusted and respected leaders are also people. Additionally, if they are involved in a church, and they ‘see’ the way some ‘Christians’ act, is it any wonder that they have doubts and don’t look upon Christian leaders in general as those who warrant their respect? As far as young people so easily looking to entertainers and sports figurues as role models, young people know that these people don’t always make the smartest choices, so seeing them foul their own personal lives isn’t a shock. The shock, which causes the doubt, is when they are told they can trust pastors and other Christians, and then find out it isn’t always so. Christians and churches need to be more aware of their pastors and leaders and should seek to dismiss those that don’t measure up to the position they are given. We as Christians, must be more active in being responsible for those that we place in positions of being role models. Yes, God forgives those who sin and repent, but in my opinion, that doesn’t mean that those who break the trust should be in a position to repeat their actions or to send wrong messages to young folks. There has to be some accountability within our ranks!

    I like the variety of posts on your blog. Always something to ponder about!

  2. bigdadgib says:

    Great post!
    We need Him more now than ever!

  3. susan says:

    I agree wholeheartely! Having a godly leader to imitate from is so important– I also include it in my current job search. I hope I can work for/with someone I could respect, who would invest in my life and help me grow in the field.

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