My 9 year old Stevie loves to act out the shows he watches.
His two current favorites are "Doc McStuffins", or acting out the 50 foot 2-year old, Adam, in the old movie, "Honey, I Blew Up The Kid!"
Thankfully, he is happy to use his toy trucks and plastic doll house as the props and he assigns himself the role of the gigantic Adam, stomping through the house, destroying everything in sight.
Yes, we do worry about the house.
Stevie has autism, and is particularly gifted at imitating these scenes. He memorizes the scripts the background music, the sound effects as well as the body movements of the characters. When he sets his mind on learning a scene, he really learns the scene! He lives and breathes it.
He is very good at being all these other people. Sometimes he gets lost in his scripts and can't focus on being himself. He isn't doing the things that Stevie is supposed to be doing. This happens at school most of the time, when he needs to do writing or math but can't break out of the scripts to take the role of being himself.
When he requests things, he will often follow a script. "Mommy may I have ___" was taught to him at a very young age and he still uses it today. When faced with wanting to say something that he doesn't have the spontaneous or taught words for, he will often insert a script from a show to get his point across.
For example, when we had our first snow this fall, he sat at the window and started singing, "The snow comes down and the floods come up and the house on the sand went...smooshed away!" This was one of his favorite songs at that time. Since he didn't know to say, "Mommy! Look out the window, it's snowing!!", he serenaded me instead!
He is very good at being all these other people, but we rarely see him being so conversant, attentive and active when he is simply being himself.
I wonder how often we do the same thing?
When someone is a role model for us, we tend to imitate them. We learn about them, we may even act like them at times, or adopt a phrase they use as one of our own. It's not so different from what Stevie does. Used the right way, it can be a good thing. After all, Jesus said to imitate and follow Him (Matthew 16:24)!
I have heard different artists say the struggle with similar things. Dennis Jernigan struggled with trying so hard to write music like Keith Green because he admired his music so much. But God intervened and told him that the world already has a Keith Green. Now the world needs a Dennis Jernigan--that is why He made him Dennis. Dennis Jernigan has impacted thousands of lives by being himself and writing the music God gave him to write.
It is true for us, too.
God made you and me to be you and me. The world already has the other people we admire. They don't have us, and we are the only people who can be us.
God has given each of us special gift and purposes that only we can fulfill. He made it for us, not for "that person". His plan isn't for the talented and gifted people of the world to do everything, because they are so good at it.
His plan is to use each of us to do the things he created us to do.
I wonder what the world would look like if everyone played their own roles and fulfilled their purposes that God created them for?
What do you think?
What is your role, and how are you developing it? Let's discuss it in the comments!