“Just Like Dad”
~ Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2) ~
My children, like many others of their age, love to dress up. With some creative costuming and their active imaginations they become knights, astronauts or jungle explorers. By donning those clothes, they make-believe they have the same attributes as the characters they are playing — brave, strong or adventurous.
I expect my son to dress up like a superhero. Or a fireman. What I didn’t expect was for him to choose another person to imitate — me.
One day I received a text from my wife with an accompanying photo of my son getting ready for school; he was in kindergarten at the time. However, Simon wasn’t wearing his favourite shirt, a new hat or the patented bed-head hairstyle of little boys. My son had his hair perfectly combed and was attired in a pair of dress pants, collared shirt, a tie and a vest — a carbon copy of the type of outfit I wore to work every day. Thinking this photo was staged by my wife, I sent a ‘quippy’ response back. She promptly replied that the whole idea was Simon’s; he simply said, “I want to be like my dad.”
Imitation is something we all do, regardless of age. Even as adults we pattern of our lives after sports stars, celebrities or others people we admire. We seek to imitate them in the clothing we wear, the way we talk or the activities we do. We look to these individuals because they possess something we perceive we lack. We want what they have. Simon’s decision to imitate me has caused me to reflect on who I am trying to imitate in my life because who I choose to imitate will directly influence my son. This is definitely something I never had to consider before becoming a father.
Paul, in Ephesians, calls on all of us to become imitators of God. Outlining a list of pitfalls we should avoid, Paul calls for us to examine how we behave, challenges us to be wise in our actions and make the best use of our time; above all, he instructs us to be like our Father in heaven. On earth, Christ was the perfect imitation of God, his Father. Jesus spoke God’s truth to people. He showed God’s forgiveness. He demonstrated God’s love. When searching for someone to emulate, we should look no further than to Christ himself. So as a father and role model to my son, as well as my daughter, I need to show them that, through God’s help, I am trying to imitate Jesus in my daily walk. As a father I need to be truthful with my children, even if those discussions are difficult and awkward. I need to show forgiveness to them and people in my life that cause me harm or offense. Above all, I need show my children that no matter what they do, I will always love them. Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, these three principles are worthy of imitation. In the end, we should all aspire to be “just like Dad.”