“What do you think of me?”
That’s a question most of us have asked at one time or another. If not verbally, then by body language that hopes for their approval.
Children especially long to know that they have value. They want to be noticed, validated, encouraged and applauded. Whether they are running a race, coloring a picture, singing a song or reciting a memorized verse, they look for approval from those around them.
Did I do a good job? Did I please you? Am I good at it?
These questions are evident in the look on their faces and hope in their eyes.
And while all of this is valid, if we stop there, it’s not enough.
We want children to have a healthy self-awareness and self-confidence for sure. While at the same time, we want them not to be self-centered, leading to selfishness.
Healthy self-awareness when rooted in the God who made them will develop self-esteem that has its boast in the Lord, their Creator, while putting others before themselves.
In Ephesians 4:32 NKJV we read, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
This follows the teaching that one who belongs to the Lord should walk differently than someone who does not believe. Children need to know that they are to think good thoughts, not seek revenge, control angry emotions, have clean speech that brings blessing and grace and not be bitter.
The more we encourage them to be a blessing, the more good character traits will develop and life will have greater meaning and purpose. Other-centered, giving people are filled with the joy of the Lord.
Me-centered people tend to alienate others by pride and arrogance which develops when their eyes are trained on themselves.
I remember when growing up how we loved celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But one day I asked why we didn’t have Children’s Day?
My Mom replied, “Because every day is children’s day. Every day you receive love, food, clothing and surprises along the way.”
In other words, I didn’t need to focus on me. My parents were doing that for me. I needed to grow in graceful living. This would come from a defining and freeing understanding that it is what God thinks of me that matters most.
And his Word reminds me that I am His beloved. He desires a relationship with me. And He delights in me as his daughter (or son). Psalm 139 affirms his knowledge and thoughts of me.
What He thinks is enough. Selah
Jan Merop, a prolific and award-winning writer, has had her column “Pause...and Consider” published weekly for almost 30 years. Her signature, Selah, indicating a time of silence, reflects her title. She and her husband, Ken, moved to Avery County two years ago and actively volunteer in the area. They have three sons and five grandchildren. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan at pauseandconsider.net.