Faith Journal Kids

I Love You and I Like You: 6 Ways to Encourage Your Children to be Who God Made Them to Be

I Love You, and I Like You: 6 Ways to Encourage Your Children to be Who God Made Them to Be www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Gina Smith

 

My son has always had a wonderful sense of humor. It started before he could even talk. It seemed that he was always doing something to make us laugh.When he was about a year old, we started putting him in a playpen while we were having our family Bible time. The playpen had mesh netting for sides. We would sit with our 4-year-old on the couch and Caleb would pull himself up in the playpen and smash his face up against the netting. Then he would move his face up and down and his face looked so funny. We would all end up laughing our way through Bible time!

He has always been the life of the party, and lives life “outside of the box.” Not in a rebellious way, he is comfortable in his own skin and refuses to conform to what others say he should be. I love that about him. I never have to wonder where he stands on anything. He just tells it like it is.

Unfortunately, there were a few years that I didn’t see this as a good thing. I listened to well meaning voices around me that told me what he should act like, look like, and talk like. Many of the little boys around him were dressed “just so,” and sat still in church at very young ages.

There was one person who told me that my son was “foolish.” Being a young mom and desiring that my son be what he should be, I listened and began my mission of trying to make my son behave the way others said he should behave, and sadly and I began to stifle who he was. I was unable to see what a gifted young man he was, because I was so busy comparing him to what others said he should be.

Through a number of circumstances, God opened my eyes to what I was doing and helped me to see the young man he had made my son to be. I began to understand that this young man was in a process of growth, and that his heart attitude was what most important…not his performance!

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine…”

God changed how I viewed my son. I no longer saw him as foolish…but as funny. I was able to accept him for how he has been “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Uniquely created! His personality is an amazing gift and has brought so much life into our home. I was finally able to walk along side him in his process of growth and guide him, rather than constantly correcting him, pushing him to be something he wasn’t made to be.

Some might see his untucked shirt, that he likes to joke around, and that he does not fit a particular mold. They may not think he measures up to what they think the standard should be. But that doesn’t matter to me anymore. I see the person God has made him to be, have seen so much growth, and can truly celebrate who he is!

Yes, he has some foolishness in his heart. We all do! And there are times we have had to remind him that he needs to tame some of his silliness. But he is 23 years old. He is growing. He is not characterized as being foolish. He is a very submissive, tender young man.

If I could do it over, I would have looked to God more, and not to people and their opinions. I would have gotten to know my son for who he is, and not tried to hold him up to a standard that someone decided looked good!

I am so thankful that God opened my eyes, changed ME, and that my son and I have a good relationship now. It’s is so much more enjoyable, and he really does make me laugh. He has helped me to loosen up and not take things so seriously, and has added a fun dimension to our family. He has also helped me to be comfortable being who God made ME to be.

I am challenged by his consistency. He is himself where ever he goes. I love that about him. God really knew what he was doing when he put Caleb into our family. I have learned so much from him!It’s important that we get to know our children as individuals and encourage them to be who God made them to be. It’s one of the best gifts we will ever give them! I am so thankful that God brought me to my senses before it was too late! He is so merciful!

6 ways to encourage your children to be who God made them to be:

  1. Regularly point out that God has made them with amazing gifts and abilities.
  2. Tell them that the gifts and abilities they have been given can be used for God’s glory. (Even a wonderful sense of humor!)
  3. Strive to point out evidence of God’s grace in their lives, and tell the when you see God working in them.
  4. If you feel led to bring something to their attention that they might need to work on, make sure they understand that we are all in a process of growth, and we are all working on things in our lives. We don’t want to leave them discouraged or feeling overwhelmed.
  5. Accept them for who they are, for how God has made them, and communicate that to them. (Ask for forgiveness when you fail to do this!)
  6. AND…Tell them that you love them, and you like them!

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina is a writer and blogger, wife for 29 years and mom to two grown children, ages 23 and 26. She and her husband have been in ministry to college students and young couples for over 20 years, while living and raising their children on a college campus. She writes with the purpose of coming along side and encouraging women, helping them to see that there is grace given to persevere through any and all seasons. She is the author of http://www.ginalsmith.com/2016/08/httpwww-reallifetitustwo-com201508grace-gifts-celebrating-your-children-html.htmland you can find her at her blog “Grace For This Season – http://www.ginalsmith.com/