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March 27, 2017

Teaching Children To Love Themselves

In today's highly competitive and busy world, kids can easily believe their value comes from what they do versus who they are. Well-meaning moms and dads bustle their kids around to countless sports, clubs and social activities, then home for quick dinners, homework and weary evenings. We wake up the next morning and start the day with stress and mayhem, only to do the whole thing all over again.

In the "busyness" and good things we do in life, we often overlook that what our children crave is a sense of personal meaning—some signal that they are loved and valued just as they are.
Our schools and the modern pop culture's message are void of any recognition of the intrinsic value of the individual. Our children are taught that they are here only as a result of evolution—that they have the same worth as ancient apes; that they are simply the by-product of an accidental big bang; or that they are just some advanced form of primordial ooze that appeared out of nowhere billions of years ago.

But they should feel really, really good about themselves anyway! They are also taught that a human life is of value only when it is wanted, and is disposable when it is inconvenient. If a baby can be killed at will by her mother just because she has yet to take her first breath, how on earth can she be of any real value after she is born? It's no wonder that we now have a generation of both children and young adults who do not know that they are precious individuals with a sacred calling.

Marian, a public school teacher in Maryland, observed, "Parents and politicians would do well to spend a noon hour in the cafeteria of a school. Kids in super tight or droopy jeans and T-shirts reading 'Yes—but not with you' or 'You forgot to ask if I care' shuffle through food lines. But bad fashion and rude comments are not their only common denominators. Their more defining trait is the forlorn look they share."

Such observations by a teacher are a wake-up call to be deliberate about teaching your children that God created them with great value; in fact, it is the single greatest thing you can do for your sons and daughters. Let them know there is a God who loves them, who knows and calls them by name. He knows how many hairs are on their head, how many concerns they have on their heart and what issues they struggle over.

What a powerful message to share with our children: "God made you and knows you, and gave you value before you were even born—that's before you brought home one good grade or scored a goal for the team or did your first good deed."

The value of human life is most beautifully stated in Psalm 139:13-15: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place."

When our children understand that that they are important just as they are, you know what happens? They begin to love and value others just for who they are too. A deep sense of the love of God is something you just can’t help spreading to others. Your view of community changes. You understand that other people are of value, not because you happen to respect them, but because God decided it is so.

The value God places on each of us is a beautiful life-changing truth to share with your child—and to remember for yourself too.

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