As a young boy I had a fascination with martial arts and martial artists. I can recall watching Kung Fu Theater with my step-father and siblings. Yes, the movies were very horribly dubbed from Chinese with the movements of the mouths never matching the words we heard coming from the television.
But despite the poorly dubbed English of those old Kung Fu movies, we loved to watch them and as a little boy I wanted to imitate all that I saw on the T.V. screen. In my mind I was convinced that I too could jump, kick, and chop my way through any foe that may venture my way. As I grew a bit older I discovered ninja movies. My intrigue with martial arts grew even deeper as I watched the black-clad warriors flip, roll, and wield their Ninjato swords--shorter versions of the Katana favored by the Japanese Samurais of old. Of course I wanted to be a Ninja too.
Why was a I so fascinated with the Hollywood-style fighters? Why did I long to be like them and even attempt to portray them in my childhood playing? Because that is who I spent my time watching and observing. The more I beheld the skilled fighters the more I wanted to be like them. And we watched them so much and so often that my thoughts moved from mere fascination to adulation: extreme admiration.
Maybe Kung Fu and Ninja warriors were not your thing. Maybe you grew up wanting to be just like your favorite baseball or basketball player. Maybe you wanted to be like that famous movie or dance star you watched. Instead of Ninja swords made of dowel rods and black water pipe perhaps you brandished the jersey of your favorite sports legend. Maybe your walls were plastered with posters of your favorite bands.
As I look back on the forlorn folly of my own youth, it makes me very cognizant that I want so much more for my children. I want my children to grow up admiring Bible characters and ultimately of course the Lord Jesus Christ. How does one accomplish that? I think the answer is easier than we may think. It really boils down to giving our children the opportunity to behold the note-worthy men and women of the Bible instead of the fleeting and too-often non-Christian personalities paraded before the world as the next pop icon.
Are there those in our society worthy of admiration? Sure, but when it comes to setting up an example for our children to emulate and reproduce I want that example to be Jesus and and not Justin Bieber. I want it be Mary Magdalene--post conversion of course--and not Lady Gaga. Who are you teaching your children to admire in an extreme way? Is adulation of the Lord Jesus the goal you set for your family or do you leave them to shifting sands of pop culture? Let us be intentional about what and who we place before our own eyes and especially the eyes of our children. Please don't ever forget that our choices do not just effect us. May Jesus be the supreme object of our affection and may we teach our children to model the same.
Dear Father in Heaven,
As we come to You today, we thank You for the great example of Jesus. Please teach us to hold Him and His perfect character in the highest regard, and then teach us to teach our children to do the same. Please forgive us where we have allowed the world to shine more brightly in our eyes, and please turn our hearts to heaven this day. We pray in Jesus' holy name, Amen.