Is Your Child Burdened By Labels?

My son went to church camp last week. At seven years old, it was his first extended stay away from us (an entire week), and his first time traveling alone. While I was anxious about him traveling so young, he was so excited about going to camp and even more pumped up when he got back. Of course, once we loaded him in the car, we immediately began drilling him with questions. What did you do? Did you meet any new friends? Did y’all go swimming? What kind of Bible study did you do? What were the cabins like? Did you shower every day? We (well mostly, I) barely gave him time to breathe as we peppered him with questions during the ride home.

One of the activities he mentioned they did was to put labels on a cross. Having no clue what he was talking about, I probed him further about what that meant. He said they had to write down all the labels they felt defined them and stick them to the cross to represent the freedom God gives us from labels.

Given that he’s only seven years old, I didn’t think he would actually have anything to write down so you can imagine my surprise when he began telling me about the labels he’d listed.

How had I not known he felt this way? How could a child so young be comparing himself to others and feeling less than? I mean, I know what it’s like to deal with labels. But my kid? The one I’ve called my warrior. The one I read daily devotionals with and remind that he can do all things through Christ. This isn’t supposed to be.

It was a blow to the gut, but it was also a reminder that as parents we must be extremely diligent about guarding the hearts and minds of our children.

Is Your Child Burdened By Labels?

The devil would love nothing more than to take our kids down with labels, but we don’t have to let him. We must…

  • Be diligent in covering our children’s hearts and minds in prayer.
  • Be diligent in asking God for the discernment to know when our children are dealing with something.
  • Be diligent in checking in with our children and desiring to know and understand their heart.
  • Be diligent in affirming our children and highlighting their strengths and abilities.
  • Be diligent about instilling into our children God’s words about who they are in Christ.

As I learned this weekend, it’s never too early to start.

Permission to Play

I loved the theme for our church’s women’s conference this year–Permission to Play. As a parent of three active kids, I’m always telling my children to go play. And by play I mean, turn off the computer, iPad and television, get imaginative and have fun.

It could mean flying kites at the park, riding a bike, making a new Lego creation, playing board games or some version of pretend play.

tree-climbing

It’s unfortunate that once we reach adulthood, we often think we’ve outgrown play. We regulate play for the kids while we take on the burden of adult responsibilities, issues and stresses. But as adults, and particularly as parents, we need play time in our lives, too.

Just think about how kids are when they’re playing. Their play is filled with joy and excitement. It stimulates their creativity and energy levels. Playing children aren’t worried about the cares and problems of the day. They’re having fun and are completely immersed in the moment.

rodeo

Can you imagine how that type of atmosphere would change how you go about your day or respond to your family? Why, then, should we leave play for the kids?

As one of our church pastors, Amie Dockery, says, “Do what makes you happy, be with those who make you smile and laugh as much as you breathe.” Maybe that means playing keno with friends, testing a new recipe or hitting balls at the driving range. Maybe your play is a parents-only vacation, learning to play the piano or visiting museums.

Whatever play is for you, the permission is yours to make it a regular part of your schedule.

When Your Good Habits Stop

Have you ever been in the habit of doing something, only to stop? It's funny how, when we're in the midst of doing something consistently--whether it's running, eating well, cleaning house, not yelling at your family or whatever--we think that habit … [Continue reading]

Do You Trust God to Meet Your Needs?

Do you trust God to meet your needs? If someone were to ask me that, like a good Christian, I'd probably respond with a quick, "Yes, of course!" But when it comes to the real world, I'm not always as trusting as I'd like to be. When I found out … [Continue reading]

The Best Game Plan for a New Year

One Word Resolution: LEAP

Happy 2015 everyone! If you're like most people, you probably started off the year compiling a list of resolutions and goals for the new year. At least that's the way I've started the year for as long as I can remember. The only problem is that my … [Continue reading]

How to Quickly Test Your Communication Skills

Even before our children can utter their first "mama," we're communicating with them on a daily basis. What I'm learning though, after 6+ years of being a parent, is that often what I say and what gets heard are two totally different things. I … [Continue reading]