Monday, November 7, 2011

The Importance of Imitation

Photo Copyright 2010 Alycia W. Morales
People always tell me my children look just like their dad. Occasionally, I'll hear that my daughter looks just like me. What amazes me is how much our children look just like us, with their own unique traits.

The similarities don't stop there. They continue deep into their DNA. They reflect our attitudes, our behaviors, and our vocal tones. Of course, they have their own versions of these, but it always amazes me when I hear something I've repeatedly said fly out of my child's mouth, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

1 Corinthians 11:1 says, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." 

I have to confess.  I don't always imitate Christ. Some days I lose my patience before I've had my first cup of coffee, and it only gets uglier from there. I yell. I scream. I've even been known to call one of my blessings a name in the midst of my frustration. I lose control. I try to demand respect, and yet I act like I've stooped to their childish levels. If I looked in the mirror, I'd see a ten-year-old me looking back, not a loving mother of four.

Last night, after a very long two days, I pulled out the Word of God and sat my children down in the living room.  My son had spent two days screaming in anger at anyone and everyone who got in his way, didn't give him his way, or took his privileges away. My daughter cried every time I brought correction, whether verbal or the threatened spoon. "I feel like you hate me." Because I told her to stop running in the house.

I've gone through the Proverbs and highlighted all that pertain to children in blue. It makes them quick to pull out when I've exhausted my last breath trying to persuade my children they need to behave and have respect for one another and me.

With them sitting quietly on the couches, I stood before them with the Word of God in my hand. I began to read to them from the Proverbs, reminding them of God's command to honor and obey their parents in order for them to have long life in abundance. I reminded them that foolish children ignore their father's commands and the law of their mother. I reminded them the the righteous will bring joy to their parents, particularly their mother. I reminded them that correction means I love them. If I didn't, I would never correct them. I would not want to see them grow in the things of the Lord and learn to have self-control. I reminded my daughter that God corrects the ones He loves, and He promises that using a rod will drive foolishness far from children, protecting them from further harm. And - added bonus - it won't kill them, but will provide the discipline necessary to enjoy a long, abundant life.

I will probably still have to repeat myself twenty times a day. I will most likely still have to bring correction on a quarter-hourly basis. I will have to remind them to say, "Yes Ma'am," so I know they've heard and understood my instruction. And, I may have to pull out the spoon as a reminder of my undying love for them. 

At the same time, God speaks to me, reminding me of my need to imitate Him. To walk in love when they refuse to follow God's command. To find the joy of the Lord in the midst of anger and strife. To bring peace to the chaos. To suffer long when I can't seem to find an ounce of patience left within me. To always have the law of kindness on my tongue. To offer goodness to my children when they walk in their badness. To remain faithful to God as an example to my children. To keep my word, not succumb to their whims. To be gentle, not the ugly green monster whose head rears up in stressful times. To maintain my own self-control when the kids can't seem to find theirs.

Because, after all, I, too am made in the image and likeness of my Father.

1 comment:

  1. Your article brought back memories of when my sweethearts were still young and at home. My husband used to tell me on my most frustrated days that I would miss these times when the children grew up and leave home. He was right. Enjoy it all. Someday, you, too, are gonna miss all of this. :) I promise.


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