Affirming Children

One of the little quirks of the system in which I was raised was that we were never told whether we were good at anything. To praise a child could lead to pride. So we never knew our IQs and didn’t have any certainty we had any strengths. I was nearly 30 before I figured out I was an above average vocalist, but still don’t know how good “good” is. I knew I did well in school – grades were obvious but I didn’t know whether everyone else got the same sort of grades. I still don’t know what my IQ is. I knew I liked music, acting and writing but didn’t know if I had any ability. Unfortunately, because I didn’t know if I was good at anything, I assumed I was bad at everything, or at best merely ordinary. I doubt I was unusual in that assumption

So why does it matter? For several reasons, actually.

First, if a child believes he is not good at anything he will see himself as worth less than everyone else around him. In other words, he will feel worthless. A religious systems that constantly tells us we’re wicked, also reinforces this lack of personal worth. And if a child believes he is not good at anything he will certainly not attempt to excel at anything. Nor will he know the skill areas in which he is capable of doing more. If he tries to pursue his talents but doesn’t know their source or value, he is far more likely to succumb to Satan’s attacks intended to limit or stop him.

More specifically, though, failing to help children learn where their gifts and skills lie is to insult God’s design. If we are, as the Bible says, created in the image of God, the talents and abilities special to each person are a reflection of God’s image, specifically given to each individual for God’s glory and to reflect His nature in us. If God has a specific plan for each person to accomplish in their lifetime, not knowing the skills and tools He has given will make it difficult or impossible to complete His purpose.


3 Responses

  1. I agree, and had the same experience, but not with the church. The churches I attended as a youth helped to establish my belief that God loves me no matter what and repentance for what my conscience tells me is wrong (backed up with scripture) and belief that Jesus died for our redemption is all that He asks. When the guy who murdered my brother did not show any remorse, I find it difficult to forgive, although I know we are all human and susceptible to any sin. All we can do there is leave it with God and have faith that, one way or another, it will be handled.
    It’s such a fine line between “not good enough” and “pridefulness”! I agree that it’s an insult to God not to use the talents with which He blessed us, then it happens that some become “self-sufficient” and stop believing that God is necessary.
    The other day, I read a testimony from a lady who was an “extreme Mormon” and she researched until she found the truth and said that although she regrets all the years spent in the ‘ward’ (one of their terms) she can witness that God has brought it to the good. (Romans 8:28, as I’m sure you know). I’m going to post her letter b/c of Mitt Romney and a comment that was left by a guy who left a homosexual lifestyle only to adopt LDS. Not to bash anyone’s beliefs, only to state that we can’t change God’s word.
    I am convinced that there is no perfect church and that’s why 2Timothy 2:15 teaches us to study. However, we must be careful not to turn others completely off from church, thereby, Jesus. That’s why I haven’t writtnen about my experiences (which really has to do with outside forces being allowed to creep in–Rick Warren for one), b/c when it comes right down to it, our relationship with Christ is personal, not in the group itself. I honestly say that with love, Danni, b/c I think we are on the same quest (As you can see, I’ve been seeking for a while;-)). Proverbs has some interesting verses that has created controversy to the point of there being websites that try to point out contradictions in the Bible. One being Prov 26:4-5, which I addressed in posting “Are We Dignifying Foolishness?” and another is Proverbs 11:13 in which we have to discern (thru prayer) what to tell and what to keep to ourselves. Like people who get on TV and tell all the bad things that happened to them, blaming others and taking no responsibility. Who are they helping except to give others excuses? Not to say there isn’t any good in it for some, but it has the potential for keeping some in darkness.
    I hope this makes sense to you…
    God Bless You and Yours and Merry Christmas!
    In Christ’s Love, Odale

  2. Sorry, I am concerned that you will think I mean that we should not tell or that predators should not be punished. Not at all. Matthew 24:12 affirms that iniquity will abound and the love of many will grow cold. I see that in every arena, not just a single entity or culture. The difference being in repentance and salvation, and only God knows the sincerity level.

    God’s Blessings on You, Danni, and you are in my prayers as I hope to be in yours!

  3. I appreciate your comments. I started to write an answer to you here and it turned long, so I’ll post it as a separate blog post. But I understand what you’re saying!

    I read the “other woman” story you posted. What a terrific testimony! As weird as it seems, I’ve felt very similar things as she describes in “leaving” the IFB and extreme-right Christian world — not leaving God or the church. But God is so faithful. As this woman shares in her testimony, God promises to lead us to the truth if we will seek Him with all our heart. Sometimes it leads to very hard decisions and choices. But He WILL reveal Himself to those who are willing to see Him.

    I’m going to post a blog entry about my additional thoughts. You have raised an excellent question and sometimes-quandary. 😉

    — Danni

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