Who You Are

I think most parents pray and worry about the challenges of peer acceptance as their children get older…those days when their friends are mean, or the names they might be called, or if they don’t that invitation in the mail to the birthday party the rest of the class is talking about.

And I think when your child has special needs or physical differences that immediately set them apart from other children, there is a tendency to fear and worry even more about inclusion.

I used to pray about this a lot for Brenna. I would ask God to help her not be self-conscious or insecure about her appearance as she grew older. I would pray that she wouldn’t ever be jealous that Connor “got normal skin” and she didn’t.

And then, over time, I began to realize how unrealistic this kind of request is.  Because everyone is self-conscious about their appearance at some point….or usually many points throughout their life. At this second, I can list a dozen times when I’ve felt completely insecure about how I looked, about what I was wearing, or how my hair was.

Instead, I need God’s help to foster confidence and self-love in my children.

But how do we teach confidence? How do we teach our kids to be comfortable with who they are? I wonder about these questions all the time, especially when I see glimpses of confidence in my own children. Did I teach that somehow? Did I model that? Or are they just naturally like that?

On a daily basis, we are told we’re not pretty enough, our hair is not this or that, our bodies are not perfect enough…and that we need to buy all of this stuff to even attempt to be satisfied with ourselves.

I used to fall prey to that way of thinking. Now, I strive to admire instead of envy. I know that I don’t want to be around people if they don’t possess the qualities of true beauty and bring positive to my life. I always look to be overwhelmed by the beauty around me.

Brenna’s arrival into my life taught me how to like myself and how to love myself. Because of her, I realized how the incredibly overwhelming extent of my love for both of my children relates to God’s love – in seeing them, I see nothing but beautiful, nothing but miracle. It has given me a small glimpse of the love that God has for us and for all of his children.

It’s taken me far too long, but I am finally starting to comprehend how loving ourselves as God loves us is part of glorifying God. We were all created exactly as God wants us to be, for his glory and for his purpose. When we love ourselves, when we become who he created us to be, instead of trying to be people we are not, we are not only glorifying God, but we are also showing God to the world. This is such a powerful concept that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

“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.” I don’t think it gets more clear than Psalm 139 in describing our unique and deliberate creation.

But how do we teach our children about this love, about self-confidence, about loving how God created them? I am trying hard to discover these answers every day.

But I think there is one main thing I want both of my children to know as they face peer acceptance:

Rejection hurts. Rejection in all forms can cause deep pain, resentment and bitterness.

But rejection does not define you. The way other people rate you does not define you.

If people ever stare at you or make rude remarks, if kids ever decide they don’t want to play with you because of how you look, if someone ever judges you negatively before they get to know you…

it’s because of who they are
NOT because of who you are.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I think this is my favorite post of all time! I need to repeat your last lines, It’s because of who they are, NOT because of who you are, over and over. My children are grown, so I am a much order mother that you are, but as much as I have tried it is hard to let go of insecurities for both myself and my children! Thank you for my new favorite phrase!

  2. Anonymous says

    I think this is my favorite post of all time! I need to repeat your last lines, It’s because of who they are, NOT because of who you are, over and over. My children are grown, so I am a much order mother that you are, but as much as I have tried it is hard to let go of insecurities for both myself and my children! Thank you for my new favorite phrase!

  3. Lynnie says

    I think it’s about teaching your kids to be resilient. It’s about making them confident with who they are and what they’re good at. Make sure they have a good set of friends that like them for who they are. Also, kids quickly learn that just because a kid in their class has cool clothes and the latest toy, doesn’t mean they are fun to hang out with or a nice guy! And that works both ways, I tell my kids that although they look the part and have all the latest gadgets, its who they are that makes a difference. You gotta be a good loyal friend, considerate, nice and kind, otherwise you wont make friends. Kids know that the materialistic things about a person only last so long, it’s who they are that really counts. They may not make friends all the time, but in the long run, they will be the ones that win out.

  4. Lynnie says

    I think it’s about teaching your kids to be resilient. It’s about making them confident with who they are and what they’re good at. Make sure they have a good set of friends that like them for who they are. Also, kids quickly learn that just because a kid in their class has cool clothes and the latest toy, doesn’t mean they are fun to hang out with or a nice guy! And that works both ways, I tell my kids that although they look the part and have all the latest gadgets, its who they are that makes a difference. You gotta be a good loyal friend, considerate, nice and kind, otherwise you wont make friends. Kids know that the materialistic things about a person only last so long, it’s who they are that really counts. They may not make friends all the time, but in the long run, they will be the ones that win out.

  5. says

    This is beautiful. My son has lymphatic malformation of his tongue and lower lip and he has had some hurtful comments made about him in the past few months by other kids at playgrounds. Right now, he is only 23 months, so he doesn’t understand. It hurts me and my husband more than it hurts Atticus right now. Atticus has such confidence and an amazing spirit and I would never want others to break his spirit. I love the ending of this post and will share this with him when he is older.

  6. says

    This is beautiful. My son has lymphatic malformation of his tongue and lower lip and he has had some hurtful comments made about him in the past few months by other kids at playgrounds. Right now, he is only 23 months, so he doesn’t understand. It hurts me and my husband more than it hurts Atticus right now. Atticus has such confidence and an amazing spirit and I would never want others to break his spirit. I love the ending of this post and will share this with him when he is older.

  7. Anonymous says

    Thank you for the “like” … I realize that many of your readers do not include gay children as loved and as special as their children. Our children were born this way…are loved…are special and do not deserve to be bullied or made fun of. The suicide rate for gay teens is 5 times greater than straight teens. I wish Christians would act more Christ like. Take care!

  8. Anonymous says

    Thank you for the “like” … I realize that many of your readers do not include gay children as loved and as special as their children. Our children were born this way…are loved…are special and do not deserve to be bullied or made fun of. The suicide rate for gay teens is 5 times greater than straight teens. I wish Christians would act more Christ like. Take care!

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