by Neil Anderson
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
It’s all too easy for children to find their identity wrapped up in external values like performance and appearance. Why? Largely because those are the values their parents and teachers glorify and reinforce. Children are applauded if they’re cute, if they say funny things, or if they hit home runs. Thanks to the adults in their lives, it doesn’t take long for children to internalize and begin to live by three pervasive principles.
If I am physically attractive and others admire me, I will be special. If I perform well and accomplish great things, I will be accepted. If I obtain social status and others recognize me, I will be significant.
But what about the child who isn’t very cute or entertaining? What about the child who never wins a starring rule in the school play or strikes out most of the time? Tragically, children like these are often compared, rejected, or ignored by the adults in their lives. They begin to question their identity and doubt their worth. Satan takes advantage of the false values our society promotes.
Children may struggle with identity and self-acceptance because their parents struggle with the same issues. Children who grow up with false principles for identity and acceptance don’t automatically grow out of them when they reach adulthood. As adults they continue to base their identity on these external guidelines and tend to perpetuate them in their children. If you are going to help your child realize his identity and acceptance in Christ, you must lead the way by doing so in your own life.
Prayer: Lord, give me wisdom to teach my children and grandchildren what it means to be a child of God and to be in Christ. Forgive me for the times I have promoted false values before them.