Articles 14563554615_a66c3e1902_b

Published on March 16th, 2016 | by Grace M.

Are You Setting An Example for the (Younger) Believers?





I think we’re always going to be intimidated by someone.

There’s always going to be that person who’s good at everything. There’s always going to be that person who has more talents, friends, and looks.

They seem like they have it all together, but in reality, they’re a mess.

When I was younger, I was extremely intimidated by the “cool” group. It was really just a group of older kids. They were talked about. They were admired.

What was the difference between me and them?

There was no difference besides our ages. But they still made me feel like a lonely little midget. And they were the giants.

I didn’t like being around them, and I certainly didn’t like talking to them. I had to take a public speaking class with several of them. That was difficult to say the least. I felt childish and excluded.

They laughed with each other and chatted about various things. But they had a power over me. They might not have known it, but they had the chance to influence me, and they didn’t use that chance very well.

Then there was Victoria.

She didn’t hang out with the cliquey kids. Even though she was closer to their age, she wasn’t a part of the “popular” group. She sat by me. She talked to me. She invited me to her birthday party.

She used her influence well. She always shared a smile and a laugh.

Now I’m the same age that those older kids were. Now I’m the giant. I have the chance to influence another kid’s life. I have the chance to be an example of Christ.

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12).

We’re supposed to be an example to the believers—and the believers we have a huge impact on are those younger than us.

Younger kids always look up to the big kids. It may seem cliché, but I’m living proof. Sixth graders watch twelfth graders like hawks.

Unfortunately, most older kids just care about being cool and fitting in. And so do the younger kids. You can help the younger kids fit in by including them in your group.

I was a scared little twelve-year-old next to rowdy, popular seventeen-year-olds. And now I’m their age.

Yikes. I’m influencing the 12-year-olds around me.

Then I am in a pickle.

I can’t criticize the previous “cool” groups in my life without criticizing myself. Because I haven’t been doing a good job of influencing the younger kids in my life for Christ.

Some twelve-year-olds may be annoying. They may be immature. They may be cliquey and boy- (or girl-) crazy and self-centered.

But they aren’t the only ones.

Don’t treat younger kids like babies. Instead, treat them like friends. They’ll appreciate it more than you know. If you talk to one this week, they’ll feel mature, cool, and special.

Jesus treated everyone with equality. He didn’t treat one group better than the other, and we shouldn’t either.

We make ourselves feel good when we act stuck-up and prideful and better than younger kids. But when we do that, we’re acting more immaturely than those kids we criticize.

They look up to us. We need to let them know that they’re not alone.

Don’t intimidate; inspire.

The younger kids in your life make up the next generation of rebelutionaries, and your influence in their lives could impact the choices they make as they rebel against (or fall into) society’s standards.

Fight with them and for them. Inspire the next generation.


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Photo courtesy of Fouquier and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the Author

is a homeschooled seventeen-year-old who lives in Maryland with her parents, sisters, and dog, Cocoa. She has played piano for twelve years, she spends time with crazy youngsters at her church during AWANA, and she likes to bake for her family, friends, and church. She writes about the Christian walk on her blog.



  • Olivia W.

    This is almost funny to me the way you have used twelve year olds as an example of younger kids, because I am only twelve. However, I think your point remains the same: even for me as a twelve year old, there are younger kids around me and if I was kind to them or talked to them, who knows, it could be something that makes them feel special. I’ll keep this in mind next time I’m around the fourth and fifth graders at church or when I’m at camp this summer 😛

  • bella pfeiffer

    yeah, i am 13 yet i totally relate, i have small siblings and their friends looking up to me, and sometimes i forget that, thanks for posting this i’m constantly needing to be reminded!

  • Marietta

    This is so right! I can relate to this fact. I went to one church and all of us kids the same age hung out together… and that was it. We were “the group” Don’t intrude, just don’t do anything cause then you (the younger ones) are annoying. Our family moved and now we’re in a neighbouring church. It is smaller, and I was the only girl my age in that area, no girls above me for like 3 years. But you know what… all of us girls there, from Gr. 6-Gr.10 hung out together, one big group of like 20 people, me being the oldest. And you have no idea how amazing it is! Ok, yes, there is immature ones, but they do look up to you, they watch you and they love you. You can affect their life so much! Either by saying “Only us, you’re too little to be of any importance” or “Everyone is loved and welcomed”

  • Anne

    A wonderful and convicting reminder. I sometimes forget that all the younger kids are looking up to me. Thanks for posting, Grace! :)

  • Louis Gervais

    I wholeheartedly agree! The younger ones usually appreciate just a little friendliness a lot!

  • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

    So, so good! And those younger kids can make great friends too! :)

    • That’s right, little guy. 😛

      • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

        Excuse me! That’s not cool. Aren’t you like 16. Lol. 😉

        • Hehehe nope.

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            17?

          • Hehehe.

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            So. I’m 2 years younger than you and probably shorter than you. Still no merit to be calling me “little guy.” This is talking about twelve-year-olds.

            On second note, alert! Alert!!! 15-year-olds, we have a 17-year-old attack. Calling @Steve34567yay:disqus and @a_haylie:disqus! Alert!! Alert!!! 15-year-olds!

          • MimeforJesus

            Mwahahaha but Sam now has backup, I’m a seventeen-year-old too!

          • No you can’t!!
            I’m 15!

          • *watches from the sidelines since he’s 16* =P

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            More like, *caught in the middle since he’s 16*. Come on guitar, stand up for your instrumental brethren.

          • Lol we can be on the Instruments side of this showdown XD

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            * epic Electric Guitar version of of Beethoven’s 5th starts playing in the background*

          • YAS =P

          • Y’all are nuts….I’m 17, but I won’t bother you “little people”. ;D

          • Haylie

            Haha, wow I miss a lot when i’m not on TheReb for two whole days 😉

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            Military backup. Yay!

          • Haylie

            Haha, reporting for duty, sir! *salutes*

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            Positions! Ready. Shoot.

          • Haylie

            Now the question is, water guns, Nerf guns or paintball guns? 😉

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            Hmmm, paintball hurts the most. . .

          • Haylie

            That’s why it’s the most fun *evil laugh*

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            Exactly my train of thought. . .or paint.

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            That doesn’t make any sense.

          • Haylie

            Haha I was like “whaaaa?” *upvotes anyways*

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            Lol

          • Piano With Eyes-that r worlds

            I could have made a joke about trains, but that doesn’t have anything to do with paintball. Don’t know.

          • Haylie

            *tries to come up with a joke that has to do with paintball and trains*

            *fails*

    • Caleb

      yeah!

  • Faith

    Oh my word yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!!!!!!! Haha, can I express my love for this article any other way? 😛 Thank you so much for writing this, Grace!! I wholeheartedly agree with you! (and little kids are usually better friends then peeps your age anyway…In my experience, that is. Just sayin’ :P)

    • Hailey

      I’m 17 but the majority of my friends are 12 and under 😀 and I like it that way!

    • ZeePt3

      I’m way less awkward around other guys younger than me.

  • Hailey

    Yes!! For you it was Victoria, for me Alyssa; she welcomed me into the youth group when I was a scared sixth-grader with no friends. Now she is long graduated and gone, and as a junior and the oldest girl in my youth group, I feel like it’s my responsibility to take her place and be kind to all of the younger kiddos (and the older ones as well lol). Hopefully I’m succeeding!

  • Thanks, I really needed this reminder. I remember being the scorned annoying little kid and promising myself that when I was older, I wouldn’t treat younger kids with condescension. I think I kind of forgot about that…

  • Grace M.

    Hi! Just wanted to say thank you all for your comments! I appreciate your encouraging words! We can be an example to all believers, but I think older people can have the greatest impact on those who are younger, whether they’re 6, 16, or 60. :) God bless you all!

  • Woah!! Great post.
    This is so true. I am on the children’s praise team at my church and I had a little girls look at me with eyes that she would look at a celebrity with as she said “your that girl on the stage doing motions, aren’t you?!?” She thought i walked on water.

    • Feeling Bookish

      I know. A first grader and her younger sister watch everything I do. They hug me and look up to me.

      • Yep. They practically worship the ground we walk on.

        • Feeling Bookish

          It’s a little scary that what ever we do they see and then repeat. Just today my little brother repeated something I said. I was embarrassed because it wasn’t something I wanted to be repeated.

          • Yup. We have to be good examples.

          • Feeling Bookish

            Me being a good example sounds scary. 😉

  • This is awesome! Definitely a good reminder for me. Thank you!

  • Abigail Chavez

    This is a great reminder! Thank you. I have 5 younger siblings and I forgot so often that I am to set a good example to them… I remember doing the same to my older brother and friends! Something I forgot all to often that I am to set an example as Christ did!

  • Grace M.

    Thank you for the encouragement! :)

  • BeautifulPrincess

    Thank you for pointing this out – when I was younger, I struggled with this problem at my church and felt very left out…
    The good thing is that now I know what rejection feels like, so that makes me much more sensitive to others being left out!

    Don’t be scared to step out and make friends with other left-out people – they’ll often become some of your closest friends!!! :)

  • Natie

    This was really good. Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Caleb

    It is not just setting an example for young believers, you should set a good example for all young kids.

  • Feeling Bookish

    I know what it feels like in both cases. I notice the little first graders looking at me and then they will repeat what I say or do. I used to do the same thing when I was younger. I realize that even kids one year younger look up to me. So I’m careful about what I say and do around any kids younger then me, because I know that even if I don’t know when a little kid is watching, that they are probably always watching and listening. Thank you so much for writing this.

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