When our children were young, Rhonda came up with a child training idea that was golden. We took our older kids aside and said, “Look, you are the pacesetters for your brother and sisters. They look up to you. They imitate your good behavior. So we need you to join us in being a good example to your younger siblings.”
Setting up this expectation for our children accomplished at least two things. First, our older kids became our partners in training our younger children by their positive example. They felt the respect of being singled out for some degree of maturity above their siblings. Second, it helped to lessen sibling rivalry. Their younger brother and sisters were no longer competitors, they were younger teammates; teammates that needed their encouragement.
Did it make our home life perfect? No, we had plenty of the typical child training challenges. But it sure made life better for the Lehman household. Why? Because we had set some positive expectations for our kids to live into.
Now we can debate all we want the pluses and minuses of instilling a positive self-image in children. I am likely to error on the positive side and know it can be over done. But on your Christian self-image there is no debate. In God’s eyes, you are deeply loved, totally forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ. This is who you are. And the New Testament expectation is to walk in it.