The world can be a cruel place. Especially school. As a parent of 3 boys when they were in school, you wanted to protect them from the hurts their peers could throw at them. You want them to be liked, you want them to have lots of friends, you want them to be free from bullying….. but life is not always fair.
Kids can target other children for a variety of reasons, academic levels, sporting ability, musical, artistic, they way they look, they way they dress and for no reason at all. One of the many jobs as a parent is to fill up your child’s self-esteem bucket, so when others poke holes at them, they are constantly being filled. We also need to help our kids identify their self-worth, in not what others see or think but rather how you see them, and more importantly how God sees them.
Being popular may have its perks in the short term, but being valued lasts forever. The opinions of others should never determine a person’s worth. Unfortunately, we often learn a different perspective as children. For example, when kids choose teams to play against each other at sport or recess, it’s often based on who’s who and social standing. It’s not a level playing field, and some kids are simply more highly regarded than others.
As parents, it’s important to talk with our children about what it means to truly value themselves and others, and help them distinguish between popularity and true worth. Popularity is fleeting and based on what others think. Value, however, is inherent. It’s not an option or an upgrade. It’s a built-in feature of every human being. A person has value because he or she was made in the image of God.
Our kids need to know they are,
Fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14
They need to know that,
God judges people differently than humans do. Man looks at the outside; God looks into the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Galatians 1:10 asks the question that challenges all of us, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Life is tough, and we need to instil in our children a value system that is often contrary to our culture. They need to be able to stand up for their beliefs and values even in the face of adversity. The good news, other admire it, when they see it in action.