In life, we reach certain situations where we look upon someone as a shining example for us to follow and where we become a shining example to someone. We develop a sense of reverence and idol worship for famous, successful and virtuous people. We look at them for inspiration, for advice and for motivation to do our own best and be successful in our own endeavors. We become too busy looking for others to emulate and follow that we forget that we can also become shining examples for others who look up on us.
First and foremost, we have to be shining examples of faith. As followers of Christ, we need to set not just a good example, but a strong and compelling example of faith. We need to show our active and dynamic attendance in church activities and services. Young children need responsible adults to look up to and it is our duty to provide them a shining example. When we want to show them how it is to be faithful, we need more than just tell them about living in faith. As the saying that goes “action speaks louder than words” tells us, children can learn better from us when we ourselves practice what we preach or do the things that we say to them with regard to faith. Contrary to common belief that children look up to famous, powerful and well-known personalities such as the president, actors and actress, businessmen and politicians, most of the times, they look for inspiration and example from more accessible adults such as their parents, their adult neighbors, their playmate’s parents or the local community officers and workers. Because of proximity to them as either parents, neighbors or everyday passersby, we expose them to behaviors that they might emulate or follow. Thus, as responsible adults, we are given the important task of being good role models for them. So we need to show them our earnest struggle in living like our best shining example, Jesus Christ.
Following up on our responsibility as shining examples to children, we also need to show or teach them courage. This is a different kind of courage from what is shown in television or other media. This type of courage doesn’t involve the use of force or violence. Children can be receptive, but they take time digesting the information they receive. Thus, we need to show them the right type of courage the first time they see it. This type of courage comes from living righteously and following the example of Jesus. This is the courage to stand up and speak up for ourselves and for others when we know that we are being done injustice or we are oppressed. It doesn’t have to be the eye-for-an-eye kind of courage where you push back if other people push you. It is more like speaking up and telling the offending person that what they’re doing is wrong. When we teach courage, we need to teach them to stand up for justice while practicing self-restraint and patience.
Love is one of the most indispensable examples we can show to children. The most apparent manifestation of love is through kindness. We need to show them that being kind is the way to live out our lives. As shining examples, we need to show them genuine and consistent kindness in order to teach them unconditional love and kindness without reservations. From love stems all the other positive values we can show them. When children learn for themselves how to show love, kindness and compassion, we can deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.
We must not forget that we have the best shining example we could always look up to: Jesus Christ. His exemplary way of life and extraordinary devotion to God is something we can draw inspiration and encouragement from. We need to look at living our lives in a different perspective. We can begin by considering of everything we do as an offering to God and for His greater glory.