Monday, December 13, 2010

"If You Ever Wonder Letter..."

Did anyone ever ask you as a child who you wanted to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. What did you want to be? I also wanted to have a pink jeep like Barbie when I was younger, but I think I changed my mind now that I’m older. The dreams of a child are so innocent and filled with wonder. A life filled with hope for the future.

Those childhood dreams can sometimes be crushed by the pressures of reality. Have you ever felt… unnoticed, unloved, hurt, rejected, or alone? Sometimes life can be painful… and sometimes that pain can be inflicted upon us by those that are closest to us. People can be cruel and hurtful. Words and actions can make heavy imprints on our hearts. They can shape who we become if we let them.

Our words and actions are powerful. They can build others up or tear them down. They can speak life or death. What is inside of us comes out… and words cannot be taken back once they are spoken. That is why it is so important that we are careful what we say especially to those closest to us. Not only is, what we say important, but also how we say it.

Children are very impressionable. They are trying to discover who they are and many of them do that by listening to what others think about them. “What a great job on your test!” – I’m smart. “Why don’t you pick your things up… this house is a mess!” – I’m a horrible person. “I can’t believe you forgot that again!” – I’m dumb.“Your hair is sticking up, brush it!” – I’m ugly. “I can’t believe you did that!” – I’m unlovable.

We need to be especially sensitive with the words we speak to our children. Not only do we need to keep from speaking the negative to them, we need to purposely speak the positive. Speak the obvious to them… after awhile they will start to believe it. “You are beautiful!” “I love your handwriting.” “Thank you for helping me. You are so good at helping others.” Look for the positive… you are building your child’s self-esteem daily with your words. It is at times overwhelming to know that “my words” are molding my kids daily. Wow… what a responsibility.

Each child has a self-esteem bank. It is active daily. There are deposits and withdrawals made. Life in general at times can drain their accounts. As a child, most of their time is spent at school. School can be a very negative environment. They are cut down, discouraged, and most days come home defeated. We need to be the ones as parents who actively make deposits daily into their bank. If nobody else encourages and lifts their spirits up, we need to be their biggest cheerleaders.

I am constantly trying to watch my words with my boys. Not only do I need to be purposeful about what I say, but I also need to watch my careless words. If I fail and something comes out that I didn’t want to say, I need to fix it immediately. By fixing it I mean… say you are sorry to your child for your tone, bad attitude or ugly words, and ask them to forgive you… and WAIT for them to say they will. This shows them that you fail just as they do and how to move forward afterwards.

Self-esteem is important. It defines us. It is our opinion of ourselves reflected for the world to see. I had a low-self esteem as a child. I didn’t think other people liked me. I thought I was ugly, unlovable, insignificant, and unnoticed. As a child we decide who we are based on everyone else’s opinions of us. What do they like about us? What do they dislike? We look for imperfections in ourselves and wait for someone else to confirm it to us.

I’ve decided this Christmas that I am going to give my children the gift of an “If you ever wonder letter.” I want to give them a constant reminder of my never ending love for them. I’m going to write them a letter sharing “my opinion” of them in case they ever wonder. I am going to speak life-giving words to them to make impressions on their hearts for the future. No matter what age they are if they ever wonder about my love for them… this will be a spoken and visible reminder.

As we grow into adults, we can face moments of discouragement and may have doubts along the way. Am I loved? Does anyone care about me? Why am I here? Does my life make a difference? In those moments of doubt, I want to be the steady determining factor of my boys moving forward with a healthy self-esteem. What would your life have been like had you been given a letter like this? In your moments of doubting, would this have made the difference?

It wasn’t until I was older that I discovered who I really was through a relationship with God. I was seeking for others to tell me who I was instead of seeing myself through God’s eyes… after all, He made me. I realized that it was God’s opinion that mattered most and He was the only one I needed to seek to please. My favorite chapter of all in the Bible is Psalm 139… it speaks of how well God knows me.

13 -16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

God knows us better than anyone else. It’s good to know that not only does God know me, but He loves me too. In case YOU ever wonder…

YOU are an amazing, intelligent, gifted, giving, compassionate, loving, kind, sensitive, tender-hearted individual whom God loves, made on purpose, and has a purpose for your life.

This Christmas season choose to seek God’s opinion over man’s. It will change your whole perspective and YOU in the process.

Living to leave a legacy,

1 comment:

  1. Good things to think about, not only with our children but with others in our daily walk.