Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Watch Yourself!

Photo taken in March 2013 during my Mission Trip to Tijuana

When I was in elementary school, we had the opportunity to earn Character Cards by completing Character Calendars each month. The Character Calendars included tasks such as helping around the house and doing other acts of kindness to encourage good character at a young age. The Character Cards were similar to a baseball card, except they each pictured a high school student, primarily in a varsity sport. Over the years, I collected several of the cards of my favorite athletes. Each month, you were also entered into a drawing to do an activity with one of the high school students on the Character Cards. I was thrilled in the fourth grade when my name was drawn and I played a board game with the senior girl. As a part of this program, the high school participants signed a contract stating that they would strive to be good role models and refrain from underage drinking, tobacco, and drug use. However, the summer after I received my first character card, I remember hearing gossip that the cheerleader who had been on my card had been caught underage drinking. I was devastated. I didn’t even know this girl, but I truly looked up to her as a strong young lady with values as a role-model. However, she let me down that day.

Later, when I was in high school, I had the same opportunity to appear on a Character Card. When I signed that contract, I took it very seriously. With my mom being a fourth grade teacher, I had always understood the importance of my influence as a young adult. I often put myself in the shoes of my gradeschool self and remembered how much I looked up to people in sports, at my church, or even people pictured in the newspaper.

Often, we don’t realize it, but we have so many people in our lives who look up to us and depend on us to model good behavior. I was reminded of this as I started a new bible study yesterday called “Loving Like Jesus” with the Good MorningGirls blog. This week’s theme was forgiveness and the most powerful reminder from the reading of Luke 17 comes when we are told to “watch ourselves.” The devotional tells us, “whether we like it or not, the way we live or life influences those around us…especially those who follow behind us…live your life authentically, wholeheartedly sold out for Jesus and keep your eyes focused on Him.”

How true is that?

Sometimes when I think of influence, I think of celebrities that young girls look up to. While it is a lot of pressure for celebrities to maintain their image for their fans, I also believe that no matter who you are, regardless of whether you signed up for it, you must be aware of how you are impacting those around you. I think that is one reason why it is so difficult to watch our favorite childhood celebrities go through rough, rebellious patches as they grow older. 

Photo taken in March 2013 during my Mission Trip to Tijuana
 No matter your age or the environment you are in, be so careful of how you portray yourself. Remember yourself as a child and think of the kind of role models you looked up to. Be that influence you needed at a young age. 

1 comment:

  1. That is such an interesting program that your school ran, I've never heard of something like that, but it sounds like it really makes an impact on students! I completely agree that we must always see ourselves as an influencer. I recently was surprised to find out that my 10 year old cousin is a huge fan of my blog, that she reads every post--and that really made me realize how young people are looking up at me and learning from the way I act!

    The Random Writings of Rachel