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Measuring Your Child’s Value

Beth Demme Blog Leave a Comment

{This is a guest post I wrote for a blog-series called: “Helping Children Build A Strong Sense of Self-Worth.” Take a minute to read the whole series here or here. Thanks to Lisa and Tanya for encouraging moms to think and write about this topic and more.}

Early in our children’s elementary school experience I learned to dread “The Weekly Folder.”

Very early. Probably around week two of kindergarten.

My son has always been … verbal.

Despite living without language for the first year of his life (he lived in a Russian orphanage) and then suffering recurrent ear infections, people complimented his vocabulary from the time he was just two years old.

He’s always had a lot to say.

I wasn’t surprised when his kindergarten teacher noted in “The Dreaded Weekly Folder” that he talked during lessons. What surprised me was my son’s explanation. I asked him if he was talking a lot during school and he quickly explained the problem: “That lady is always interrupting me!”

Of course “that lady” was his kindergarten teacher. A very experienced educator who, luckily, had a sense of humor and house full of sons. Mrs. K assured me that my precious boy would settle in to the school routine and his loquaciousness would subside.

That sweet boy is now in 7th grade and instead of a weekly progress report, I have the option of receiving daily e-mails with his attendance, assignments, and grades.

While my husband and I expect honor roll grades and good behavior from both of our children, I’m finding it’s much too easy to make life about only those measures. I need to pause and remember that my children’s worth is not defined by their performance in school.

Even more importantly, I need to remind them of how their worth is really measured. They need to know that God knit them together, fearfully and wonderfully making them in His own image. (Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27)

I want them to know that God’s love is not conditioned on their performance. (Romans 1:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:19) In everything they do, God’s love abides in them. (1 John 4:16-18; Galatians 3:26)

Don’t misunderstand – it is important that my children not waste their potential or sabotage their future by being lazy and earning mediocre grades. The challenge is to communicate this to them while making it clear that no matter how they perform in school, they are loved and valued.

Jesus tells his disciples that God knows when even a sparrow dies, but each person is “of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31) We are so very valuable that God has taken care to count the hairs on our head. In fact, in Hosea, God says he cared for the Israelites “like those who lift infants to their cheeks.” (Hosea 11:4) (Read more.) I want each of my children to picture themselves as that infant, cradled in God’s over-sized hands, and lifted to God’s cheek. We are so cherished that God snuggles us to His face!

One way we can help our children build a strong sense of self-worth is by being confident of our own value, our own lovability. We need to make it clear that, even for us, God doesn’t tie his love to any kind of performance review.

There was a time I couldn’t model this for my children. But at a point when I was feeling nearly worthless as a mom, God spoke to my heart and changed my perspective.

God showed me there wasn’t anything my children could do to earn more of my love and it was impossible for them to diminish my love. Then God opened my heart to the realization that he feels the same way about me. God loves me—and you and our children—unconditionally.

Do you know your value? Do your children know that God loves them unconditionally? How do you model that truth for them? Tell me about it in the comments, or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

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