old hannah

Building Self-Esteem in Children - God's Way

“Good Job, Hannah.” “God Job, Zach.” “You are awesome!” From the moment six-year-old Hannah and two-year old Zach came home from the hospital, their parents have showered them with words of love and admiration such as these.  Hannah beams from ear to ear, gives the thumbs up sign to her parents, while Zach squeals and dances a little jig.

It goes without saying that they are obviously elated with the words of approval their parents give them daily.  I applaud my daughter and son-in-law for the God kind of love they are modeling to my grandchildren.

Soon, Hannah and Zach will be branching out beyond their home environment and embracing the world around them.  Surely these two kids, along with others like them whose parents have planted the seeds of acceptance into their lives, are ready to face the outside world, right?  Unfortunately, the answer to that question could be “no.”

Robert McGee, professional counselor and the author of You and Your Parents, says that parents can do all the right things, and a negative word or a circumstance could come into a child’s life that would block their emotional development.  Along with the blocked emotional development, their self-esteem begins to spiral downward.

What are some of the circumstances that can cause a child to feel badly about himself and lower his self-esteem?

1. Being bullied by another child.

2. A rude remark by a teacher, such as “You’ll never amount to anything.”

3. Making a move to a new place and not making friends right away at a new school.

4. A parent’s divorce, especially if he feels to blame for the divorce.

5. Being made fun of because of a disability.

6. Not making good grades in school.

7. Not approving of his appearance.

Do any of those circumstances sound familiar to you and your own life?  In an earlier post, I recounted my own journey down a muddy road in search of where my self-esteem had plunged to its lowest level by the time I was 40 years of age.  The path led me right back to my childhood, as is often the case.

The question we must ask ourselves is:

  • What can WE do to help build self-esteem in a child's life in the midst of circumstances in his world?  By WE, I mean parents, grandparents, youth leaders, school teachers, or any caring adult who desires to be an instrument in the foundation building of our leaders of tomorrow.

I believe the answer to that is:

Help a child see the magnificence

that is within them

because of the God who created them.

Take a view of God’s magnificent creation:

1. God created you with a beautiful body. [Psalms 139:13-14 TLB]

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about.  Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it.”

  • Everybody has a different shaped nose, ears, eyes, and teeth.
  • Some people wear glasses.
  • Some people have curly hair, some people are bald.
  • Everyone has a different size body and shape.
  • People have different skin tones.
  • Not everybody looks the same, but the way you are uniquely designed is what makes you beautiful and handsome.

2. God created you with special abilities [Ephesians 4:8-12]

God gives each person special abilities.  Not everyone has the same ability.  Some of those special abilities are:  Dancing, Singing, Acting, Aerobics, Playing Baseball, Jumping Hurdles, Drawing, Painting, Writing, Sewing, and the list goes on.

3. God calls you by special names.  A few of the names God calls you are:

Salt of the Earth  [Matthew 5:13)]       Light of the World [Matthew 5:14]

Bold   [I John 4:17]                                   Friend  [John 15:15]

Strong   [Ephesians 6:10]                       Conqueror  [Romans. 8:37]

4. God loves you.

  • He loves you so much that He has counted every hair on your head!  [Matthew 10:30]
  • He loves you so much that He protects you while you are asleep.  [Psalms 4:8]
  • He loves you so much that He gave his life for you.  [John 3:16]

5. God values you. [Mark 10:13-18]

This passage of scripture tells the story of mothers bringing their children to Jesus to bless them.  Jesus’ disciples shooed the mothers away, telling them not to bother Jesus. But, when Jesus saw what was happening, He was very much displeased with his disciples and said to the disciples, “Don’t send the children away!” Then Jesus took the children into his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.  “Bless” means that Jesus gave the children honor and special value.

Think about it: Do you suppose your own childhood would have been different had you realized your beauty and worth within because of the God who created you?  I know mine would have been.  Does it not give you a desire to pass this knowledge  on to children around you to counter-attack any negative circumstance that may come into his life?

Hillary Clinton once wrote a book entitled:  “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.” I have to agree with that.   Together, we can lay a foundation in children’s lives which will  Build Self-Esteem in Children--God's Way, paving a path for them to become all God created them to be.

Excuse me while I make a phone call to my grandchildren and shout out to them---

“Hannah and Zach,

“You were magnificently created!