“Self-esteem” is a buzzword that burst onto the scene about 40 years ago as educators, parenting experts & even churches elevated a child’s view of themselves to a place of priority and primary concern in raising kids. Yet with all the emphasis on affirmation and praise for our kids, studies today show that people are more depressed and anxious than ever before and have lower self-esteems than ever before while narcissism is at an all time high in our culture.
The evidence points to a greater need than just affirmation and praise in teaching children to respect themselves. As we wrap up our month on RESPECT, we learn from the life of a short, little tax collector (or a “wee little man” as the song says), that a proper respect for oneself comes, not from a closer look in the mirror but from a clearer view of the Savior and what He has done for us.
This week we looked at the story of Zaccheaus from Luke 19:1-10. Zaccheaus was a despised tax-collector whose arrogance and pride had led him to disrespectfully defraud his neighbors in order to make a fortune for himself. Despite his wickedness, when he heard Jesus was coming to his town, he rushed to see this man that everyone was talking about. And when Jesus saw wicked Zaccheaus, he insisted on visiting him in his home and bringing what Zaccheaus so desperately needed — salvation! Zaccheaus found his true self-worth in Jesus’ love and compassion for him which overflowed in acts of repentance and respect for those he had harmed. Because of what Jesus had done for him, Zaccheaus could properly respect who God had made him and strive to act as one saved by God. Today we praise God that He still seeks and saves the lost (Luke 19:10)!
Spend a little one-on-one time with each of your kids this week and ask them if there are things that they wish were different about themselves or things they wish they could change. Open up and tell them some of yours. Then use the “Who God Says I Am” sheet from Sunday and the Scripture in it to remind one another where our value comes from and encourage your kids with specific ways you see Jesus in them.
The value of anything is always determined by what people are willing to pay for it. Identify a handful of objects in your home and let your kids guess how much they think that thing is worth (could be big or small). Look up similar items on eBay or Craigslist ahead of time to see how accurate their pricing is (and laugh together at some of the silly things people will pay money for). Afterwards, read John 3:16 and Romans 5:6-8 together and talk about the price that God was willing to pay for them. If God was willing to give His only Son for them, how valuable are they to God?
Find a sycamore tree in your neighborhood or at a local park. Take a walk as a family to that tree and have your kids retell the story of Zaccheaus around the tree or read it together again from Luke 19. Talk about how Zaccheaus’ life changed because of what Jesus had done for him. Share with your kids about how your life has changed because of what Jesus has done for you. Be specific.
Take time to thank God for the amazing way He made you. Thank Him for how you’ve seen Him work in your life and the lives of each member of your family. Ask God to help you fully trust in what He says about you and not listen to the lies the world tries to get us to believe. Pray that you would find your worth in Christ alone.
Which verses on the “Who God Says I Am” sheet were most encouraging to you and your children? Why? Leave us a comment and let us be encouraged with you!