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Monday, September 17, 2012

How do we give our kids value?

The princess and I had a weird conversation the other day. She was convinced that some day, when she grew up, I was going to forget about her. "I will never forget about you," I told her with confidence. "Yes you will. You're going to see me on the street someday and you won't know who I am." Nothing I said would convince her otherwise. I finally hugged her tight and told her that she was too precious to me to forget. At the core of my daughter's questions, though, was the question we all ask. Am I significant?

I started a new Bible study at our church based on the book, Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. So far, we've only discussed the introduction, but I have to say, even that small bit is changing my life. Keller's main point is that we set up idols for ourselves by allowing things to take the place of God's significance in our lives. It's making me realize how easy it is to take the focus off God and replace Him with something else.

One of the prominent thoughts in parenting today is giving our kids good self esteem. All of the books and schools tell us how we should praise our children and make sure they know they're loved. There are so many techniques for helping our children grow a healthy self esteem. But everything I've learned is missing one component. Where does our kids' value come from?

Is it because I say they are? Or because they are good in school? Or because they're such nice kids? Well, all of those are true. They are good in school (sometimes) and they are nice kids (sometimes). And I happen to think that they're pretty great. But that isn't why my kids are valuable. They are valuable because God says they are. That's it. There is nothing they can do to make themselves any more or less valuable.

The problem is that as parents, we tend to only give them value based on our authority. "You're valuable because I say you are." To a point, we need to do that. But we also can't neglect the idea that our authority is nothing to God's. God's authority is the ultimate authority, and we also have to remind our children of their value in God's creation. I know so many adults, myself included, who don't have the proper self esteem because they didn't learn as children their value in Christ.

As I denied that I would ever forget my daughter, I started thinking of reasons I would forget her- like a traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer's, or some other terrible thing. I didn't mention them to her, but as I started worrying, I thought, great, now I'll be a liar and that will really devastate her.  That's the trouble with placing the hope in a person... there's always the chance you'll be let down. But see, God isn't going to get a traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer's or have any other reason to forget us. God will always be there.

So I'm going to be more intentional about reminding my kids that even if I fail, and let's face it, I will, some way or another, God won't. Even if they fail, God isn't going to love them any less.

How do you remind your kids of their value in God's eyes?

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