I take my role as aunt, honorary aunt, or plain old role model in general very seriously. Today I attended the baby dedication ceremony/service for my 19 month old niece Ellie. Ellie is my best friend's daughter. I am the honorary aunt to Ellie and her two older brothers--and I LOVE them like they're my own. The church that Ellie's parents attend requires that parents go through classes on what baby dedication or blessing means. I saw a bit of the curriculum covered and it was pretty impressive.
At the service, were my friend's and her husband's family members. We expected to just watch the parents and Ellie being prayed for. Instead, we were asked to stand up. The pastor reminded friends and family that we have a responsibility and a role as well. We are to support Ellie's parents and live our lives in such a way that we are good examples and mentors to Ellie. Something he said at the end of the admonishment really stood out to me. He said, "You all got dressed up, made sure your cameras were charged, scheduled this time out of your days to be present for this family--maybe even sacrificed a little. I hope that you put that same awareness and preparation into your daily lives, not just for Ellie and her parents but for everyone around you. Present yourselves as followers of God (get dressed), make sure you're charged, make time for God, make time for others in your life--strangers, even."
While I know that...I needed to hear it; to be refreshed. I needed to be held accountable again. So many times in this society if a child "fails" we look at the parents and quietly (or not so quietly) judge and blame them. Did we have a role?
I think about my nieces and nephews as well as the children and teens who's lives I have chosen to be a part of. I am responsible for them. For a second I thought, "whoa, I need to cut down on how many children I care about :)" ....not really. But I did think about all the young people that I have the privilege of having in my life and my determination to be a good example shot through the roof today. I want my life to be an example to them, something they can reference as they go through their own lives.