Raising children has never been easy…
It’s challenging, yet always rewarding.
But in today’s tumultuous climate, it can be an especially difficult struggle. There are so many outside forces trying to influence your child’s developing minds…and souls.
Social media has its place. It opens up channels of communication that don’t know borders or boundaries. It provides us with a source of entertaining dance, prank, and pet videos. But it can also be a drip-feed for negativity…especially for young people.
They can be pulled in many different directions.
Without the right compass, they can become lost…in the process, they can lose their sense of self-worth.
How do we foster self-esteem in children?
You can’t shelter your children from outside influences. They’ll always find themselves on stormy seas – that’s the human condition.
It’s your job to ignite their spirit from within so that they make the right choices and believe in themselves…even in the face of those storms.
You can be their lighthouse when they are young…and teach them how to build their own as they grow into adulthood.
To foster self-esteem in children, you must light the flame within
When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we gave a great deal of thought to how we would guide him or her on their voyage through life.
We always seek to live our lives with intention and purpose.
We were both raised in families of faith and carried on following the guidance of the Bible as a couple. In the glorious days leading up to the birth of our first child, we talked about a passage from Proverbs 22:6.
It’s often cited because the message is timeless.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
My wife and I talked at length about how we could put that Scripture into practice. Because it was really talking about lasting self-esteem in children, and we knew how fragile and vulnerable children can be…
It’s natural for parents to assume that outside forces are an inevitable – dominant – influence on a child’s character.
So, they treat those outside influences as a foregone conclusion…one that will lead to poor choices. They conclude that there’s nothing they can do to stop them…especially in this age of social media information overload.
I would propose that you can build a lighthouse for your children. It doesn’t necessarily have to be faith-based. It simply has to be intentional.
In our family, the lighthouse is called The Clark Credo
Here is the phrase we repeated to our first, second, and third born. Every single night at bedtime.
We made eye contact, we spoke with sincerity and love. We spoke in the third person when they were infants…and as they began to speak, they were able to recite it in the first person.
They internalized this message…they found the light within themselves.
The Clark Credo
I’m smart, talented, and I never say never.
I’m wanted, important, loveable, capable, and I can succeed.
I love music, I’m a great athlete and I’ll get good grades in school.
I’m strong, confident, and know:
The only person I need to be better than is the person I was yesterday.
I never say ‘I can’t. I always say ‘I can, I will’.
If I get knocked down or fall, I just get back up and go again.
If I spill or make a mistake, I just clean it up, learn why and say: ‘no big deal.’
I love God and He loves me, so I treat others how I want to be treated,
So when they’re away from me, they always say:
‘I like me best when I’m with you – I want to see you again.’
My wife and I have watched our children grow and flourish, and adopt our Clark Credo into their own children’s lives.
Building self-esteem in children can’t hinge on them thinking you’re proud of them. They have to learn to take pride in themselves. Only then will they become accountable for their actions and excel.
Punishment for a perceived failure, or overdone praise for a commonplace accomplishment, only teaches your children to rely on outside forces to move them ahead.
The drive has to come from within
The same applies to professionals, by the way. If you’re not seeking to be better than yesterday’s self and only concentrating on the accolades you received in past – or the performance of others – you’re probably stagnant.
If you’d like to find that spark within yourself, contact us. We have resources and virtual experiences that will help you build your own lighthouse.
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