I cannot begin to explain the importance of affirming our children. I do not mean just saying I love you, but I am not down playing the importance of that either. Tell your kids you love them so much that it seems like it’s all you say. They will be encouraged and surrounded by that love all their days whether you are near them or not if they hear it now.
When I talk about affirming our children, I mean to specifically speak to them who they are. We all know the world is going to tell them a different story.
If she’s a girl, she’ll need to have affection and attention of boys to feel beautiful. She’ll need to be popular to know she’s accepted. She will need to be like everyone in order to not be rejected. If it’s your son, he’ll need to be about conquests. That can be girls, sports, or standing out as the alpha from his peers.
That’s what the world thinks is important. That is not what I think is important. I don’t want Lauren to ever going looking for affirmation in these way. I don’t want Ethan to be built up by these worldly ideas either. This is not what I want them striving for.
The truth is that all that is temporary. One of my favorite pastors said something to a young lady that stuck with me. “God did not make you for high school!” Don’t you wish someone would have told you that while you spent and gave up part of yourself just to belong? Don is a dear man and this is something I think of for my children. I’m thankful God put wise people who love Him in my life to teach me even when they did not know they were.
The truth is if we send our children out into this world, fully aware of who they are, they will not need this empty affirmation. How much damage does the enemy do in this? How many hearts are broken and lives bent while someone is just waiting to feel accepted and like they belong?
Tell your kids who they are. I tell Lauren and Ethan as many times throughout the day that they are, “a gift, a blessing, and a joy.” She says it with me, and I can’t wait to hear Ethan’s voice say these words. Actually, she made a bad decision and after we were talking about it. She looked at me in the middle of me getting onto her, and she said, “I am a gift and a blessing and a joy!” It was funny because she knew she was in trouble so she “reminded” me of what she has been taught, but it also gave me the opportunity to affirm more truth. I told her that she will always be a gift, a blessing, and a joy. Nothing can change that. No matter what she does or where she goes, the truth of who is does not change. Her making a bad decision does not change the love I have for her or how I see her. I realized after that God was teaching me to paint a picture for Lauren that would lead her to seeing how He loves her. I am honored and blessed to see where God is leading me while growing me into the Momma my babies need.
Affirming your babies does not have to be a big, long speech. It can be simple. I tell both my children they are a gift because I want them to know they were crafted by the God of the universe and given to us as precious treasure (Psalm 139). They are both to be valued and cherished. My children are a blessing. Everything about their sweet faces and hearts blesses me. Our goal is to raise them up to change and impact the world for the cause of Christ. My unending hope is that they would say, “YES LORD!” to wherever He calls them (Isaiah 26:8). They are a joy. Being a parent is hard at times, and everything about it demands that you put the needs and best for your children above any selfishness in you. It is my joy to live like that because of the love and joy that flooded my heart when God answered our prayers and gave us children (Psalm 127:3-4).
I thought about myself when I considered this also. How often do I count myself a gift, a blessing, or a joy to those around me? My sincere hope is that I would see my own value in this way, and that I would live in a way that models that for my children. If no one has ever affirmed you I want you to know there is air in your lungs for a purpose. You are not just someone who happened to be born. There is a unique plan for your life written by God. The journey won’t be easy, but the truth of how much He loves you and how precious you are to Him is bigger than circumstances. He loves you infinitely.
Please start today and every day after telling your children who they are so when they stand in the face of the world telling them they will know and can shout the world down in the face of the truth they have been so firmly planted in. Let us love our children enough to send them out ready to walk in light in truth with the foundation of who they are in Christ set in unshakeable ground.