"Be All That You Can Be" That slogan shouldn't end there. It should read: Be all that you can be, but don't be something (someone) you're not. I consider myself qualified to speak about this because some of the most boneheaded things I've ever done came about as a result of not following that simple rule. I won't bore you here with embarrassing examples of aforementioned boneheaded-ness, (is that a word? Well, it is now) just take my word for it.
The trick is...or was for me...finding and identifying our authentic selves. There was a serious shortage of role models when I was growing up. Not blaming anyone...just stating a fact. Thank heavens for grandparents and aunts and uncles. My point is, that many of us didn't have healthy, emotionally intact, spiritually fit grown ups around when we were children. So we looked outside of the family circle to help us define who we are. For the longest time, I wanted to be just like Carol Burnett when I grew up. If you're too young to remember Carol Burnett, I don't want to hear about it! Just kidding. She was a comedian with a TV variety show that we watched as a family when I was a little kid. I loved that she made people laugh. But it goes deeper that that. I really identified with her all-out goofiness. She wasn't too dignified to try anything and really put herself out there just for laughs. I liked that she would start out the show dressed in an evening gown and would take personal questions from the audience and then next thing you know, she would be made up like an old lady or with her front teeth blacked out for a comedy sketch. She didn't take herself too seriously. Neither do I. (Take myself too seriously, that is).
There were times in my young adult life when I forgot all about Carol Burnett. When I did take myself too seriously. Or not seriously enough. I was all over the place trying to be like this pop-star or that movie star or a popular friend. Trying to please everyone or to be what a boyfriend thought I should be. A lot of young girls (and boys) do this. It is unfortunate and it can be trouble. By the grace of God, I made it through.
I am happy to report that deep down when I was very young, a little seed had been planted by my daddy that finally sent down roots and began to grow. Slowly at first but it is now flourishing in my spirit. What seed? When I was really young we saw my dad pretty infrequently but when he was around he was fun, silly and bigger than life. He used to whisper in my ear sometimes: "You are going to do great things in your life" and "you are special...you have everything it takes to make it big in this life." I don't really know what he was referring to exactly and frankly, it doesn't really matter to me. When I was a little older he used to say "You are a living child of the living God. Your Daddy created this planet and don't you forget it!" He would remind me constantly to stay close to Jesus. He said someday I would use my voice to 'sing for Jesus'. The important part of this story is that I BELIEVED HIM! Deep down I really believed he was right.
You may not think you are much of a role model. Neither was my dad. But there is something in you that you can share...a seed you can plant that may make all the difference in the life of someone close to you. Something as simple as a whisper into a child's ear.
As for me...I am special. I feel like I have made it 'big' in this life. I have done great things in my life (and I've only just scratched the surface). And Daddy, I am singing for Jesus and loving every minute of it. I am putting myself out there, I am silly, I'll do almost anything for a laugh and most would agree that I am certainly goofy!
I think Carol Burnett would be proud!