So many parents, teachers, and coaches worry about the child’s self esteem…but how we view ourselves means nothing without viewing ourselves as GOD sees us.
Every time I have looked at myself…taken an honest look…I get into a downward spiral. But when I focus on Christ, on His work in my life, on how far He has brought me, I feel strength rising up inside.
Instead of praising or encouraging our children based only on their behavior or accomplishments, try saying something like this:
“Soji, your reading has really improved. God has given you a mind to really understand the written word. Surely He will do something amazing with it!”
“Judson, your throwing is getting better every day! The Lord has given you great talent son…I can’t wait to see all He will do through you with it!”
“Ryli, your sense of humor is such a joy! You make us laugh all the time! I know God will use you to continue bringing joy and laughter everywhere you serve him!”
You get the idea. And not just about things in the future…you can use this technique to praise God for things right now. When you notice your child struggling with a character trait, perhaps self control, you can point to the progress they have made in that area and tie it to praising God as well.
“Sweetie, I know you have been really making some headway with self control. I have been praying for you about that. C’mon over here and let’s pray real quick and praise God for the work He is doing in you in overcoming your frustrations with better self control!”
See, if we just keep pointing our children to their behavior, their accomplishments…it only makes them feel better as long as they keep it up. But they can’t keep it up for long–none of us can. But if we instead constantly remind them of God’s continued work in their life, His big plans (despite momentary setbacks and failures), and how He is and will continue to use them to accomplish great things, influence and inspire others…they will be looking up to Him instead of at themselves for fulfillment and comfort.
Focusing on self and waiting for others to value and encourage you is not nearly as fulfilling as remembering all the times someone has pointed to God’s continued work in your life and big plans ahead. Tying our encouragement to praise for God will help our children realize their God worth instead of self worth and give them a greater consciousness of Christ and His grace and work in their life.
Photography courtesy of Brian Schindler