“STOP COPYING ME!”
We’ve all been there. That moment when either we or someone else begins to mimic a person. This is usually a pursuit of kids to irritate their siblings. It begins with repeating what they say and escalates until the one being copied says something the imitator doesn’t want to repeat or calls for parental reinforcements. In that moment, you may realize how much they are like you.
A more pleasant version of this revelation is when you notice your child copying you. Especially when they are young, children like to imitate their parents. It may be copying your movements, or following you around, or trying on your shoes. When they are little, they are learning how to live in the world and there is no one else they would rather be like than mom and dad. While this tugs at our hearts, it also might scare us! “What if they turn out like me?”
Children become their parents. It is a fact of life. Sure, there are differences in personality or physical appearance or interests, but by and large kids are shaped more by their parents than anyone else. There might be the phases where you are the enemy and they don’t want to be anything like you, but due to DNA and your home environment, they will be. It’s a fact of both nature and nurture.
We of course want them to pick up the good parts and pass over the bad. This puts a big responsibility on our shoulders. There is of course nothing better that we can do than to point them to Jesus. Ultimately, it is him that we should want them to resemble most. So, we must do some imitating of our own.
Paul invited people to follow him as he followed Christ. This is our best option for helping our children and anyone else to become the best possible version of themselves. It is an exercise in being transformed as we copy the ways of Jesus. We are to be imitators of God, and in turn, we are transformed into the image of Christ. We imitate God as his dear children and are changed. As we follow him, we set an example for others to follow.
As we journey through Ephesians beginning this month, it is my hope that we all will answer the call of our heavenly Father. He says to us, “Start copying me!” And he won’t get irritated with us one bit when we do. Instead, he will be moved with love for his children who want to be just like him.