29 Ways to Affirm Your Children – #11

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#11  Develop self-confidence.  Teach your children that other’s opinions of you do not determine who you are.  I made a career out of embarrassing my kids at the Olive Garden restaurant to make a point about self-confidence.  When the waiter did not return with the pepper grinder as promised to top our salads (an ongoing problem it seems), I would roll over in those great chairs they had with the casters to the nearest pepper grinder and roll back with the goods.  My point was, “Don’t worry what people are thinking of you if you are doing something that needs to be done.” (Of course, as Rhonda points out, I enhanced the embarrassment with my showmanship.)

The kind of self-confidence we wish to instill is not some boastful or arrogant attitude.  It is instead a firm determination to follow the agenda, both big and small, that God has placed in front of us no matter what others may think.  Jesus gave an example of this in John 7:1-6.  After the feeding of the five thousand on a hillside in Galilee, Jesus’ brothers said, “Hey, Jesus, you should go up to the feast in Jerusalem and do your thing.  Anyone who wants to be well known needs to be doing these miracles on the big stage.”  Jesus replied, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune” (vs 6).

In our lives, we have people and institutions that would be happy to set the agenda for our family.  And while we want to learn and practice biblical principles in a community setting, we are the ones responsible for following the path God has laid out for us and our family.  As you set the identity for your family, following God’s direction, you instill a sense of self-confidence in your children that says, “This is what the ____________ (fill in your family name) do.  This is who we are.”

Does this kind of self-confidence befit a Christ-follower?  I believe it does and when we do this, we emulate a trait in Jesus that even his enemies recognized.  “You teach the truth without catering to man’s opinion” (Matt 22:16).  Teach your children the balance between living and cooperating in a community but at the same time having the self-confidence to move forward in life “without catering to man’s opinion.”