Saturday, April 30, 2011

Being Like Him

As far back as I can remember, my mom has always told me to be careful what I say or do because my little sister and her friends look up to me.  If I mess up, they might follow my example.  I used to think that was silly.  Why would she look up to me?  I'm her sister, for crying out loud.  The older I've gotten, the more I've heard the same thing from other people.  My daughter looks up to you.  Remember that you're a leader to younger girls.  I'll admit I used to think that was an excuse for adults to try to convince me (and other girls my age) to do the right thing.

As time has passed and especially over this last year or two, I've noticed that what adults have told me is true.  Younger girls do look up to me and my friends.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that's a big responsibility.

I've always been the oldest child in my family, so I think it's taken me longer than most to realize how much my little siblings do look up to me.  I've never had an older sibling I admired.  But over time, I've slowly begun to realize that my sister has looked up to me as a leader and a role model since she was a baby who would mimic my silly hand motions and short words.

A month or two ago, some of my close friends and I went to our church's youth group and spoke to the middle school girls about purity.  I was a little concerned that they wouldn't care what we were saying, that they would think it was silly that girls only five or six years older than them were coming to speak.  However, the moment we sat down in the chairs and began to talk, the girls watched us attentively.  They seemed to genuinely want to hear what we had to say.  Many had eager questions for us about our opinions on dating and premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.

That night was a moment when I realized that younger girls do look up to me.  The way I live my life is being closely watched by the young girls around me.  My actions may even be repeated.

I don't know how old you are, but even if you're one of my youngest readers, there are girls younger than you who are watching the way you act and the things you say.  They look up to you and are watching to see how you decide to live your life.  Somewhere right now there is a little girl who wants to be just like you.

Process that for a moment.

There is a little girl somewhere who wants to be you.

This should drastically affect the way we treat the people around us.  How could I ever stand to snap at my mom over the phone when there are younger girls watching me and thinking to themselves, "She's really cool.  I want to be like her.  It must be okay to treat my mom like that."  How could I ever wear immodest and provocative clothes that I wouldn't feel comfortable seeing on my little sister?  How could I ever switch from boyfriend to boyfriend before the eyes of young girls who are watching to see how they're supposed to be in a few years?

We are their example.

Sometimes I hate considering myself to be any kind of role model because I make so many mistakes every single day.  I'll never be "good enough" to be a true role model for young girls.  Jesus Christ should be the One we strive to be like.  We should want to be like Him.  However, not all little girls understand that fact.  Instead, they look to older girls like you and me when they want to know how to act and who to be like.

We'll always mess up.  We're sinful.  We're human.  The fact that little girls are looking to us to see how to act should inspire us to strive to be the best role models and leaders we can be.  Since we'll never be good enough role models on our own, let's strive to be like Jesus Christ.  What better way to encourage and lead little girls than by showing them Him through us?


  1. Wow... Amazing post!(: I actually had similar thoughts the other day at karate.. I was helping to teach a couple little girls (probably only 6 or 7 years old) a form (a set pattern of moves) and I thought "Wow, these girls are watching me, looking to me for answers! If they mess up, it might be my fault!" Haha.


  2. So true, Emily! I remember being part of a girls club back when I was in grade 3. There was one girl who was always an active member in the club. I would always watch her and wish that I could be like her. Even though I don't think I ever talked to her, I still remember her name: Amy.

    And today I was just reminded of how it's so important to watch what you say around little kids. I was teaching Sunday School and I said 'shoot', which I don't consider a swear word, but apparently the kids did. When they took me to task on the word I just felt so bad... I don't think 'shoot' is a bad word but if their parents have told them that it is, I really don't want to teach them it's okay. And it kinda scared me how easily some 'questionable' language is creeping out of my mouth. So, yeah. We have lots of lessons to teach little kids, but they have a lot of valuable lessons to teach us. :)

  3. This is a great post! I have younger sisters and my 5 year old sister especially looks up to me. It scares me a little because I mess up so much and I know that she is watching. I make so many mistakes but knowing that there are people who look up to me helps me a lot with how I act, I don't want them to see me do something bad and think it's okay for them to do it. It keeps me striving to be someone who they can look up to.

  4. Emily,
    Thanks so much for this post. It's funny, but I read this right after Mom gave me another one of those lectures about how I am the oldest sister and should be the most godly example to my younger siblings. Until reading this, I never really took her seriously. Now, I realize that she, once a youngest daughter, knew first hand about what it is to look up to an older sister. Similarly, after think about it, I've become more concious of the tendency I have I look up to older girls, especialy at church. I wonder how much more respect the younger girls have for me and if I really deserve any at all. I guess I'll be seeing things differently from now on. Thanks again! Undoubtedly, you have a gift!
    God bless!
    - Emily Herron

  5. Hey Em - I totally agree w/you! I have younger sissies - and I've always been uncomfortable with them looking up to me, trying to act like me, dress like me ect. But it is a good thing if I choose to live a life of love. Thanks for the reminder sister!


  6. I think it's an awesome responsibility... at church, on Sundays, we find that as we look after the toddlers [we often voluntee ourselves to play with the toddlers of the adults we know, so they can go and chat, without worrying about their children] the younger girls will come over.. I always try to make an effort to make conversation with them, and to find out what's going on in their lives, because I remember how good it felt when older girls did that for me.. I try and show them a good example, and I show them that I'm interested, and I want to get to know them. I think growing up, for a lot of my tweenage years in a church helped, as I had actual, older, teenagers to look up to.. now I'm in a position whereby I'm the teenager the tweens are looking up to, which is incredible. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot, but I strive to show the younger girls the best example I can- I'm aware that the older girls did that for me, and I'm grateful. It makes me smile, to imagine that when I go off to Uni, the girls who look up to me and my friends now will be the ones the younger ones will be looking up to.. it's a great thing, they're such lovely girls, I'm sure they'll do a great job!