When an older sibling finds success in something that’s fun, it’s not hard to imagine that one of the younger ones chooses to follow in their footsteps.
Ryken was in his first school production–“Dinostars”, a musical about the comical interactions of prehistoric creatures. The young entertainers ranged in age from five to eight years, some with performing skills and others, not so much. As a mature first-grader, Ryken was a velociraptor–a Rapping Raptor. With sunglasses and an attitude that was beyond his years, he and his two fellow Raptors were a highlight of the show.
The comedy came when we realized no one had a microphone. A few of the performers could project their voices, but most were impossible to understand. Some of the younger ones spoke to their shoes instead of the audience. Others spoke so fast that their sentences became one long word.
It was delightful.
Because their school has a dynamic theater department (we’re close to Disney), many of these kids had older siblings who’ve been in numerous productions. Hamminess runs in families, or so it seems. We could pretty much pick out the ones who have been vicariously engaged in theater for some time.
Isley was proud of her younger brother.
He’s becoming like her.
The playwright Oscar Wilde once said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. We often copy what others do or say because there’s something about them we admire. The influencers on social media are living this truth out loud; people want to be like them so whatever product, clothing, or accessories they have or use become instant bestsellers.
It’s why companies pay them to promote their products.
The pull of imitation draws little boys to want to become Spider-Man and little girls to aspire to be Disney princesses.
It’s why we have heroes, people we admire for their courage or outstanding achievements. They inspire us to dream bigger, try harder, and not give up.
Heroes are human. Some can disappoint us by making a bad decision or choosing to do something that darkens their reputation. Sports heroes who use drugs to enhance their performance. Politicians who appeared idyllic with their rhetoric and promises yet let us down when they can’t accomplish what they assured us they would do. We want these people to be better than they can be.
They won’t be perfect.
There really is only one Person worthy of true imitation.
Jesus who is God Incarnate.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” Ephesians 5:1-2a
We don’t have to try to do this on our own. We don’t have to work to imitate God. When we receive His love and forgiveness, He gives us the grace to live in His power, creating in us renewed hearts and minds that change our perspective on people and life in general.
We don’t work to prove ourselves worthy to Him. We embrace His gift of strength that He gives us; He proves Himself to be who He says He is.
Heroes and influencers will come and go, like seasons.
Patterning our lives after the One who knows us fully and sees us completely and still loves us?
That’s worthy of imitation.