Kids, Chameleons, and Ninjas

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This weekend I watched American Ninja Warrior for the first time with my kids. Where has this show been my whole life? If you haven’t seen it, it is basically a competition that requires you to climb, swing, and crawl through challenging obstacle course.  After we got done watching, the kids went downstairs and made their own obstacle course to practice.


I refrained from participating (mostly), but it did make me feel inspired to go for a run or start lifting weights.  They made the physical challenges look so fun, and it was inspirational to see them push through the pain to try to win the prize. I thought, “That looks like fun.  I bet I could do that!”  I was struck by how much we were influenced by 2 hours of television.  Simply watching those athletes jump, swing, and climb had inspired us to do the same.  My, how impressionable we are! 

Aren’t we all a little bit like the stereotypical chameleon, which changes color to match whatever is near it?  *   As a parent, it reminded me of the importance of exposing my kids to good influences.  Even the most independent and counter-cultural or anti-faddist adults are still influenced by those around them, to some degree.  We still change our colors to blend in with our surroundings.  We are influenced, sometimes subconsciously, by the people around us.  I have two takeaways from this: 

  • I want to make sure that the influencers in my kids’ lives are influencing them in the right direction. My kids are human, so they will be affected by the people around them.  If they are good influences, then even if my kids do ‘change their colors’ it will usually be pretty harmless.
  • I want to help my kids to constantly be themselves, regardless of peer pressure. I want them to resist the urge to blend in and hide – I want them to be confident and lead.  I want them to influence others.

Do you catch yourself changing colors?  Are you able to see how the people around you have an effect on you?  What ideas do you have for helping your kids to be world-changers, not chameleons? 

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

* I found out that only one variety of chameleons actually changes color for camouflage, and the rest use it as a means of communication.  Who knew?  All the more important for a chameleon to hang out with good lizards, I suppose.  Regardless, there are a lot of amazing creatures that change their appearance in order to camouflage themselves, and I don’t want my kids to be among them!



Chameleon Image Credit: Devi Stuart-Fox and Adnan Moussalli [CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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