My son was confirmed Palm Sunday with 10 other confirmads. During the service, our minister told the confirmands, “Each one of you is important. Each of you is loved.” God has a plan for each one of them, he stressed. We are loved beyond our comprehension.
This is a message that needs to be instilled in our children. When children don’t have a positive esteem about themselves, I believe, they are more apt to get involved in negative situations. If they don’t feel worth it, then why do worthy things for themselves?
It is so important that every person know that they are valued, loved, needed. Our young people, just as the pastor was telling each one of these young confirmands, need to be told, taught, showed, and reminded that that they are valued that they are worth it.
Children, and all of us, need to know that we are worthy of being loved and accepted, even when we make mistakes. Children aren’t just born with self-esteem. They are taught it by others by parents, other relatives, teachers, coaches, pastors.
When our children learn to walk, we encourage them. We praise them for their attempts. They may fall down, literally and figuratively, many times before reaching that final goal, but we acknowledge and encourage and praise the attempts and trials. When we tell our children that we love them and we help them meet their needs as they are growing, we are sending them the message that they are important. Then, as our children grow, they will know that they are worthwhile to try things on their own and to keep trying, to persevere and not give up.
Our children, just as we do, will make mistakes along the way. They will experience trials and errors, ups and downs, but having good self-esteem, valuing who they are, will help them as they face tough decisions in their lives. If they feel that they are worth it, they will be better equipped when facing those times of peer pressure. It will help them make healthier decisions regarding their own health physically, mentally and emotionally.
Let’s teach our children to focus on the things they can do, and not focus on the things they can’t. We need to teach our children that there are things that they can change, but there are also things that they cannot change about themselves. We need to teach them acceptance of themselves, as well as others.
Negative self-talk helps no one. If we role model negative self-talk, our children will most likely engage in it, as well. We want to teach our children to let go of the negative self-talk. We will try things, and we will experience trials and errors, but that is part of the process of growing and learning.
Tell your children that you love them each and every day. Do not let a day go by without those words of sentiment. When you encounter people each day, acknowledge them with a hello, a wave, a smile, (certainly, be safe about it). Even a smile or a greeting to someone, tells them that they are worth that gesture, that they are worth it to be noticed.
Mother Teresa said these wonderful words:
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”