Is Imitation the Greatest Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. 

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately. Rebekah wants to do everything I do. She will sling her mini purse over her shoulder and walk around perusing her toys. She’ll pick up her baby doll and feed her with a toy bottle. She will sit and look at books, slowly flipping through them, studying the pictures and words she does not yet know. She will imitate sounds that I make, tongue clicks, and blowing air. When we are playing, she will mimic silly faces back at me. A few weeks ago she even started attempting to put on my shoes and walk around–but her feet are still far too tiny!

I have noticed her doing many of these little things, but a couple days ago it really jumped out at me when I kept noticing her going over to her dispenser of body wash, pretending to pump it and rub her hands together under it. The first couple times I thought, What is she doing?

Then I realized that she was pretending to wash her hands, like she has seen me do hundreds of times. More and more, she wants to do what I do and eat what I eat. Tonight she was even “reading” to me. That warmed my heart so much. 

Thinking about how much she is learning and imitating from me is, yes, flattering, exciting, and cute–but also intimidating!

When Rebekah catches me sneaking some ice cream or chips, and sticks out her hand demanding that I share, it makes me think twice about what I am eating. When her blue eyes observe me tired or cranky or impatient, I realize that she is taking all of my actions, tones of voice, and word choice.

But don’t worry–this post is not about making you feel bad. Quite the contrary. I want to remind you that even your worst moments can be redeemed.

Take care of yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish. This is slowly becoming a motto in our home. Model for your children how to take care of yourself. An empty well cannot offer life giving water that it does not have. Allow yourself to rest, eat healthy, drink water, spend time seeking God, and doing the things that fill your spirit with renewal and energy.

Allow Grace. Allow yourself some grace on your bad days or the days that you don’t live up to your lofty expectations. Your children will take note of this. Guilt is meant to move us to repentance and reconciliation, not a downward cycle of self-hatred. Shame and self loathing help no one. You, your children, your spouse,  your community, and your Holy God love you for who you are. Allow that to be enough.

Model Forgiveness. Your children need to see you set a positive example when it comes to conflict. But, you are human and sometimes mess up. When you lose your temper, when you lash out, or mishandle a situation, remember that God is in that situation with you. He is already working in it with and through you. Instead of beating yourself up or pretending like it never happened, humbly approach your spouse or children, confess your wrongdoing, and ask for their forgiveness. This is a powerful way to reconcile. Plus, it teaches your home how to handle conflict.

Remember that even bad days can be redeemed for a purpose. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

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