Americans lead the world in self-esteem. That sounds like a good thing, but it’s an issue, because in all reality, it is a bad thing. We certainly don’t recognize that it’s a problem that affects those we love the most.
Now there is nothing wrong with confidence, or recognizing our unique gifts and talents. But is our high regard for ourselves justified? Does it match reality? Have we failed in our attempts to build true self-worth in our children? Have we sought to protect them so much from failure and challenges that we do everything for them and in doing so, they never learn? Or, do we provide opportunities for our children to fail safely so that they might learn?
There is no perfect child, perfect parent, or perfect community. So why pretend it is Disneyland while we stare at a nuclear landscape? Until we confront the reality that we have taught our children to have a false sense of self-worth, and that it plays its way out into the culture, we will never be able to truly act together as a community for those we say we love the most: our children.
What difference do you want to make?
How would you feel if I told you that you would live another 40 years, but the future would be exactly the same as the present? What if I told you that heaven was just like earth? Personally, I think that would be depressing. One of my favorite verses in scripture comes from Psalm 27:13: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
We all long for things to get better. We do not want to despair. We want to be part of making a difference. We all crave, even yearn to be a part of seeing change take place. We all hope.
So what is the difference you want to make in your own home? How do you make an impact? The first step is to start with you. Augustine of Hippo wrote; “If you long to be what you are not, you must always be displeased by what you are. Where you are pleased with yourself, there you will remain.
Often when I speak I tell parents this simple truth: be you, everyone else is taken. In other words, be authentic. My goal is to encourage parents to communicate this message to their children, but I am really hoping for adults to recognize this in themselves. Our children are often reflections of what we have taught them to be.
If we have taught them that we will take care of everything for them, spare them pain, decisions, challenges and problems, then we have taught them how they don’t have to handle anything else; someone will always be there. But how valuable would you think you are if you were spared from everything. Any worth you had would certainly not be based in anything you had done. It would be a false sense of pride, disconnected from truly knowing what one’s unique abilities were.
Jesus addresses this very topic in Matthew 16:25-26 where he says; “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Did you know that the translated words for life and soul in our English versions are the same word in the original Greek? In both cases Jesus used the word psyche. This is the person we are inside. Go back and reread the verse above but substitute the words life and soul with the word self. What Jesus is saying is this: “If you try to create your own version of you, you will fail and lose yourself. If you come to me in faith and accept the identity I give you, you will find yourself. You will find the person that I carefully designed and created. We are uniquely and wonderfully made! That is our true worth. There is no one like you! Teach your children to be themselves, everyone else is taken!
If you share the same Christian worldview as me, then the idea that we are unique should encourage you. Every instruction or command in the Bible implies that God has a plan for our growth. One significant benefit of the Gospel is that the Spirit of God is at work transforming each of his people (Phil. 2:12-13; Gal 5:22-25; Rom. 8:3-4).
We all have deep reasons to have hope and to believe in personal change. If we are image bearers of God, and God is a Father who leads, trains, and molds his children into new people, then we as people who are made in his image can be parents that lead, train, and mold our children into new people. This gives us cause for much hope. Guidance and direction provide a picture of where we are headed. Change is possible for everyone! A difference can be made, today!
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