Wednesday, April 4, 2012


As my 11 year old daughter wrapped up her fourth and final year with the Upward cheerleading program at a local church, I was reminded of the importance of example.  Through the weeks of practice and performance, Rachael found herself assigned the spot that was front and center of the entire squad.  From this position, she only had one person that was in her line of vision...the head coach who had choreographed the routines and performed them the best.  Rachael couldn't see the younger members who may have been struggling to keep pace or the girls who may not have been giving their best effort, thus preventing Rachael from developing any excuse for cutting her own efforts some slack.  She could only see the best in the room.  The result?  At the last practice and performance, wanting to see what the spectators saw when they watched the squad perform their halftime dance, the coaches told the girls that they weren't going to dance with them.  But, if they got lost in the routine, to look to Rachael because she knew it.

I once heard a speaker say that example is not the main thing, it's the only thing.  And this recent experience gave me reason to pause and audit the list of those that I allow to influence and teach me in my various roles of a woman of faith, a wife, a mom, a teacher, a leader, a friend.  Who is in my line of vision as I practice and perform?  I am blessed by the people that God has placed in my life.  I am surrounded by wonderful examples in my family, friends, church and homeschool community.  But I also have to watch my influences when I'm not learning in the shadows of these people...what am I watching, what am I reading, who am I listening to?  Do I invite in any examples that allow me to lower my standards for myself (i.e. "well, at least I'm not that bad compared to...")? And, as I raise three young ladies, what example am I providing?  I'm certainly not perfect in all that I do, but what am I teaching in my response to those moments, too?

I'm so grateful for Rachael's experience.  It taught her to always seek the best when learning something new.  She also learned that she will be called upon to be an example and leader.  I'm also grateful for the refresher course it has provided me on the importance of example.  My hope and prayer is that I can always be mindful of whom I am watching to learn the "routine" of my roles...and that my daughters, and anyone else who has me in their line of vision, can look to me when they forget the next move in the performance, because I know it.