I always find it interesting that our little guy who came to live with us was practically non-verbal yet after six months was very verbal. After a year he obtained a vast vocabulary. Now you may wonder what happened in this time period? How did he progress in such a wonderful way?
The answer is simply imitation. Our little guy came to live with us when he was three years old. He could say 2-3 words. A three year old should have much more to say than this but he was from circumstances that did not give him much opportunity for imitation.
When I took him to the doctor with a grand scheme of speech therapy because I was convinced he had some sort of neurological deficiency my wise pediatrician said, “let us wait six months and see what happens.”
After those six months he was saying so much! I was astounded! We did not do anything special. He was just given an opportunity to watch and imitate. We talked to him about everything and he loved it! He had no prior knowledge of how to navigate his world due to his life’s circumstances. He was a very curious boy and he copied and practiced saying things and started learning what they meant.
He also had no idea how to behave socially. He had no respect for rules. He started to watch and learn what was acceptable behavior and imitated it. God made us this way. We were made to learn in this fashion. It is the very reason we tend to become more like the people with whom we spend the most time.
The apostle Paul said to his friends at the church in Philippi, “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example” (Philippians 3:17). This imitation is helpful in our spiritual lives as well. In the home we have the perfect environment to practice imitation. We must be what we desire our children to become.
It can be scary to think of this. In my eyes I see all the bad I have done. I see the cup I tossed angrily in the sink because I had had enough of things not going my way this day. I see the desire I have to run away from everything. However, God’s grace is what gets us through. God’s grace and love is what is poured on us who belong to Him. It is not about our performance or our perfection. His love and grace covers every sin. They have been paid for on the cross. We, even in our faults, must pick ourselves back up, apologize, and make things right with those who observe. This speaks volumes.
We all strive to attain the goal. We must do this in community. God does not expect perfection because Jesus accomplished this for us already. God already sees us perfected with our warts and all. Jesus said, “It was finished so it is.” We must walk as we believe this, love like crazy, and be what we want our children to become. Be what we want them to imitate. What an amazing privilege our God has given us in this!
Angela Parsley, of the international ministry, Refresh My Soul MInistries(please change link to www.refreshmysoulblog.blogspot.com), is a wife of Tony and homeschooling mother to her 3 children. Two biological and one by legal custody. Angela is a self-published author of many Bible studies through the ministry of Refresh My Soul, so that quality resources can be provided free of charge