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Posts Tagged ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’

I knew I sP1030733hould have been keeping a straight face, but I couldn’t. There was our little fourteen month old grandson, smiling up at me with a mischievous twinkle in his big, brown eyes, as he copied my actions to a tee! My daughter had warned me, but I hadn’t quite believed her. Now I could see what she meant.

She had told me that whenever she shakes her finger at him and says ‘No, no!’ when he is doing something he shouldn’t, he copies her exactly and shakes his finger right back at her! So when he pulled the towels off the towel rail (one of his latest tricks!) and I shook my finger at him and growled ‘No, no!’ in my best grandma voice, he shook his finger back at me, chuckled gleefully and ran off! When I gave chase, he thought it was such fun that I soon found myself laughing with him.

Later, when he was sitting quietly beside me, I decided to try that age-old game ‘Round and round the garden like a teddy bear’. I traced that little circle on the palm of his hand and he giggled deliciously when I finally tickled him. Next thing, he was trying to do the same thing himself, before abandoning the whole idea when it didn’t seem to have the desired effect.

It’s clear our grandson is rapidly developing the art of imitating his parents (and grandparents) very well. It’s a large part of the way we learn so much in life, after all, so I’m pleased he is catching on quickly. But watching him has given me some serious food for thought. What if he copies things we do or say that aren’t worth imitating? What if he notices us being impatient and harsh with each other? What if he observes us wasting too much time in front of the TV? What if he rarely sees us reading any book—let alone God’s Word? What if he learns from us to be greedy or lazy or selfish or undisciplined?

Some words Paul wrote in one of his letters often challenge me in this regard. In 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, he says:

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

I used to think Paul was ‘big-noting’ himself a little! How could he say this? But then I discovered 1 Corinthians 11:1:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Because Paul is following Christ’s example to the best of his ability, he can urge the Corinthians to copy him in this. Paul knows he isn’t perfect—but he also knows he is following Someone who was and is! Elsewhere, Paul admits he does the things he doesn’t want to do (Rom 7:13-25). Yet he forges on, forgetting the past and always aiming to know Christ better (Phil 3:12-14). And he isn’t afraid to tell others to imitate him and live the same way.

Am I in the place of being able to say that to our grandson as he grows? Could I urge him to imitate me as I follow Christ?

At the risk of sounding too presumptuous, I hope and pray I will be able to do just that.

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