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Imitation: Diets, Houses, and Faith

There were 3 options for my preschoolers to choose from: Honey Bunches of Oats, Cocoa Pebbles, or Raisin Bran. I set all 3 on the table and asked each child which cereal they would like to eat for breakfast; all three chose 'Honey Boats.' After pouring their cereal and getting each kid situated, I poured myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and we all got to munching.

When Isaiah (my oldest) finished his cereal first he asked if he could have more. Sure thing, which one do you want? 
"That one" *pointing to the Raisin Bran*
Surprised I pour him a bowl of Raisin Bran, surprised that he ate the entire bowl.

As we were cleaning up our bowls from the table after breakfast I realized that the Cocoa Pebbles were not touched this morning, not even mentioned. Odd, I thought, typically the chocolately-sugary cereals don't last a week at our house. And yet this is the same [big] bag of Cocoa Pebbles that we opened over a month ago. Why the sudden lack of interest?


It was Christmas morning and there was no children's programming during the only worship service our church offered that morning. At the beginning of the sermon time Bart stood on the floor and asked kids to come forward and tell what gifts they got their parents for Christmas. After a dozen or so answers, Isaiah felt empowered enough to go forward and throw in his two cents. I thought for sure his answer would mirror the statement he had practiced a hundred times over during the holiday season "Ten Cars 2 cars."
Nearly overlooked because of his stature and shyness, Isaiah answered the question with one word, "Wood."
Chuckles ensued all around the room.
When Isaiah returned to his seat he had a goofy grin on his face. Katie and I were cracking up at his unrehearsed answer. Why did you say wood, Isaiah?
"Like the Price Hill house," he answered.


 I had finished my bowl of cereal and was rehearsing the day's plan with the kids when Micaiah spoke up, "We need to read Bible," he managed, between soggy bites of 'Honey Boats.'
Right you are Micaiah! I answered, as I stood up and retrieved the black leather-bound book from its place on the shelf just above the table.

I opened to Proverbs 11, as was our custom, to read the chapter of Proverbs for the day. I typically read from the NASB and don't bother explaining the verses very often. There are big words arranged in ways that young ears don't and won't understand but I am okay with that.
Okay with your kids not understanding the Bible!? Absolutely. And here's why...


All three of these accounts have shown me that my kids are watching everything I do. And they are imitating my likeness--reflecting the person that they see so that I can see my own characteristics and traits duplicated before me, whether I like it or not.

I recently finished a book called "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Peter Taubes (it's a long read, but the epilogue is worth it). This book has drastically changed the way I think about food and has caused me to start weening myself away from sugary foods, carbs, and "empty calories," (see "Fed Up" on Netflix if you want a more interactive version of the same information). Because I have started giving up sugary cereals, my kids have started imitating my behavior. Even though they like sugary cereals better, they eat the cereals that they see Katie and me eating.

In the same light, when I read books to our kids that mention sweets in a positive light, my kids will obsess over the sugary foods instead of over healthy foods. Why? Because I read the parts of the book about sugar with a happy voice, and the parts about broccoli with a gross voice. They are merely imitating both the book's content, and they are imitating my reaction to the book.

Katie and I recently finished flipping a house in Price Hill (you can watch the episode of our efforts on the DIY Network here). It was hard work but in the end led to a beautifully restored home. Our kids spent many hours at the house, sweeping up construction debris and hammering old boards. Through the process of being together as a family, they have learned to imitate hard work and understand what it means to restore something to its full potential.

Even though my kids don't understand the big Bible words I am using, they see the spiritual discipline of being in the word and they learn to make that a part of their routine as well. I still will take time to paraphrase Bible stories so that my kids have a better shot at understanding it, but the best way to ensure they get it, is to live it out and they will absorb more than I will ever know. 

One final example:
Chick-Fil-A blessed us with free chicken for a year. It was unexpected and a very benevolent act on their part. We did nothing to earn it but were humbled by the act of generosity. Katie and I decided that every time we go to Chick-Fil-A to redeem a meal for our family, we will look for someone walking in the doors to bless. We ask the kids at the beginning of each meal, "Who wants to be generous today?" They all raise their hands and get excited, so now we have to take turns determining who gets to be the generous kid-of-the-day. Now our kids get so excited by the word GENEROUS because it recalls many memories of bringing a smile to someone's face. 
1 Timothy 17:-19 says:
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

We could make our kids memorize this verse and tell them they need to live by this rule, OR we could practice this ourselves and watch as our kids live the Bible instead of just memorizing it.

They are imitating us, whether we like it or not. Let's live a life worth imitating.

Daniel is a child of God who is still learning to imitate what he sees his Daddy doing. He isn't mature yet, but he is growing every day and hopes to be just like his Dad some day. 


  1. May god continually bless you, your family and those that your family blesses.


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