Re-Post: Little Brother is Watching You

Why you and I are not our own

“Therefore I urge you to imitate me.”  – 1 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
–Saint Paul

Time for another visit to the poetry corner. Note: I found this years ago in a poetry anthology belonging to my grandfather. I noticed it because when he read something that stuck with him, he’d sign his name on the page. It stuck with me, too.

Lifecast, hand, son,

It’s a Boy!

The Little Chap Who Follows Me

A careful man I ought to be
A little fellow follows me
I do not dare to go astray
For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

I must not madly step aside
Where pleasure’s paths are smooth and wide
And join in wine’s red revelry
A little fellow follows me.

I cannot once escape his eyes
Whate’er he sees me do he tries
Like me, he says he’s going to be:
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine:
The base in me he must not see,
The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
I’m building for the years to be,
A little fellow follows me.
– Author Unknown

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

We live in an era of widespread surveillance — from nanny cams and home security systems to state-sponsored monitoring of our phone calls, emails, texts and web browsing.  This is the sort of supervision “for our own good” that George Orwell warned about.  And it is the kind of snooping aimed at controlling us.

This poem, however, provides a different reminder regarding our being watched.  Your younger brothers and sisters, your nephews and nieces, your teammates, your direct reports, your wife, your own sons and daughters are looking to you and your example to determine what’s right and what’s wrong.  This is the arena of self-control.

What Would A Great Character Do?

Author and marketing expert Donald Miller says that when we’re facing a decision, we should consider how we would view a character in a story who made that same choice.  I like this approach because it enables me to take my emotions out of it and consider the issue from an outside point of view.  This is one more reason why the stories we choose are so important.

I’d add one further step: consider how you’d feel if your kid brother or your son did what you’re thinking of doing.  Believe me, getting this right can save you — and the ones looking up to you — a lot of grief.

In a previous post, I explained that part of the reason I publish this blog under my real name is that I am not my own.  My words and my deeds do not only affect me, but they affect my family and every organization I’m in as well.  They’re watching me.  You’re watching me.  I know that, and I have to consider this daily.  I readily admit I am far from perfect, but I am better than I was.

If you want to live a maximized life and be the man you were born to be, consider that Little Brother Is Watching You, and pass on an example and a legacy you can be proud of.

So how about you?  Who are the ones looking to you for an example?  How can you model excellence for them?  Add your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Bring your best manners, please.

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