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Every single person who knows my mother says when they meet me: "This must be Norma's daughter!" Just by looking at me, they see the resemblance. But my kids, who know her and me, see a resemblance that's beyond the facial features we share. "Mo-o-om, you sound like Dobbie," they'll say sometimes.

The same happens in a marriage or a friendship. Before we know it, we take on the characteristics and mannerisms of the person we spend so much time with. In fact, some couples are so adept at this mimicry that they actually begin to look alike.

Social sciences tell us that imitation is automatic to humanity. Because of a deep desire to belong, we're all motivated to connect with and imitate those with whom we want to bond. Imitation isn't simply the greatest form of flattery; it's also a powerful form of connection.

God understands this. He urged the Hebrew people early on to avoid imitating the people in the foreign lands he took them into. The risk was great as God knew that what we're around, we mimic. And so God encourages us to mimic what's good rather than what's evil in 3 John 1:11.

We imitate those who lead us. No wonder then that children imitate what they see in their parents -- for good and bad.

Deuteronomy 6 gives parents a clear picture of what our children need to imitate in our lives. It says that our children need to see our relationship with God flowing in our lives. At home. On the road. Before bed. In the morning. All through the day!

That kind of faith -- apart from doing "Christian" things -- will rub off on our children because they'll mirror what's in our hearts. Without the fuel of a faith that burns in our hearts, our kids will imitate our puny, perfunctory embers of a faith gone cold. But with a faith that burns brightly, our children won't be able to keep from being singed by its fire.

Our kids mimic us. They're not even aware of it. But some day, they'll face an ethical dilemma or they'll answer their child's question about God…and they'll hear it. They'll sound just like us. It's inescapable.

For more on how to help families catch the fire of a faith worth imitating, join us at our KidMin Conference October 7-10 in Chicago. Gina is one of our featured speakers!



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