Friday, June 16, 2006

Gifts or Idols? Part V

Question #5 from my earlier post asks, "How important is your child's self-esteem?"

It seems that is all we hear about lately: self-esteem, as if it were the nexus of what it means to be emotionally healthy. Everything we read tells us to build up little Johnny's and little Jenny's self-esteem. So we put them in sports. When they play in a sport such as soccer, there really will be no losers because everybody gets a trophy. Our kids end up with rooms full of trophies that don't mean anything because they didn't come from succeeding, but only from participating! Is that really building up their self-esteem? Does self-esteem even really matter?

In some respects, I would say the answer is, "yes, it matters." But the trick is how that self-esteem is built. If it is built by the awarding of "fake" trophies, by giving praise that isn't warranted, or by false "success," then it is not even worth considering because the person has to know deep in his heart that there are no grounds for the accolades. (And then he gets the normal evolutionary clap-trap in his group school about how he was just a cosmic accident, a descendant of apes. So he knows he has no grounds for his accolades and he believes he is a cosmic accident...and yes he is supposed to feel good about himself. Hmmmm.....)

Instead, it should be built by a right relationship with the child's Creator. By right relationship, I mean an understanding that his worth comes not from kicking a ball into a net or scoring against an opponent. It comes not even from such worthy things as good academics or great talent at music. It comes from understanding that his Creator knew him before the foundation of time; that He knew him in his mother's womb where He personally knit him together. It comes from knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is made in the image of the one and only living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!

And it comes from a right relationship with that one and only having repented of his sin and turned in hope to that one and only God's Son, Jesus Christ. The understanding of the love that Christ showed on the cross and that God showed by sending His Son to that cross brings self-worth and self-esteem into proper focus...a focus not on self, but on the One who created you and who died that you may live. The focus is outward, not inward. "I am not worthy, yet God did this wonderful thing anyway, that I might be reconciled to Him. Praise His Name!!!"

That is self-esteem, and that will help your child grow in maturity and proper outlook on life. And it will put the accolades from all other successes in proper perspective: activities, abilities, and awards don't define your child; God defines your child through His Son.


Margaret said...

Preach it, Brother! The other day we passed a school that had "Congratulation, Kindergarten Graduates!" on the marquee. Oh my.

Charley said...

Very good point. I have considered that in the past and forgot to mention it here. Why in the world do we now have graduations from every level of our children's education? In a sense, doesn't that actually take away from the graduation from high school?