By Kate Ritchie
As a Christian parent, one of my greatest hopes for my children is that they would define their value and worth in God. It is easy to see that people tend to seek their worth in something on the outside. Even small children look for affirmation and security in the eyes of a parent well before they speak or walk. As children grow, relationships and talents quickly become defining aspects of their lives. I have seen the pain and heartache that comes from finding value and worth in something other than God, and I want my children to know their value in him.
Culture’s answer for this pain is promoting a belief system where people define their own sense of self and worth. There is a great deal of cultural pressure towards individualism, which leads us to trust that our thoughts are ultimate and cannot be challenged or questioned.
Unfortunately, culture’s “fix” for the wounds of our worth hasn’t helped the problem. People are desperately looking for validation and are disappointed by their ability to define their own truth and value. There are irreconcilable holes and gaps in being defined by your own thoughts and interpretations, like how culture’s “fix” defines people who think “differently” or those who have intellectual disabilities. Does this mean that they are less of a person? What if you struggle to communicate your thoughts or don’t communicate at all? What if your truth seems to change moment to moment?
The Bible tells us that God has assigned dignity, value, and worth to your child. Their worth is rooted in him. He made your child in his image, and he defines them. This idea is called the Doctrine of the Image of God. This doctrine tells us that God is holy and set apart, and because he is holy and set apart, all human life is sacred and set apart. God is of infinite worth, beauty, and glory, and we are his children we are valuable, beautiful, and significant because of him.
How can we begin to help our children see their value in God?
- Teach your children about God.
As simple as it may seem, teaching your children about who God is can get lost in the hurry of life. God has given us his Word and disclosed himself to us. He sent Jesus so that we might know and believe in him. Spend time looking at scripture with your children, and ask them what it shows them about who God is. Talk about his character traits. Point out his goodness in life and nature, and give him the glory out loud with your children. I love to say things like, “Wow! The sky is big and blue today! Look how beautiful God made the sky!” Simple and intentional statements about God set a framework for how your kids think about him.
- Teach your children to see themselves in light of who God is.
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Ps 100:3)
It is wonderful for children to feel the comfort and safety of being in God’s hands. He is the Creator, and we are his creatures. I love the picture of being “his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” God is a loving and protecting shepherd. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts (Is 55:9). We can find refuge and strength in him in times of trouble (Ps 46:1). God is true when we struggle to know what is right and wrong (Ps 25:5). As we face insecurity or struggle to know our worth, we can rest that he made us wonderful and he fully knows us (Ps 139). When we teach our kids how to see themselves in light of who God is, we position them on stable ground (Ps 36:7-9). To know that we have an authority higher than ourselves is to know that we are cared for, loved, and valuable.
Christian parents, we have to be intentionally Biblical about teaching and modeling that a person’s worth comes from God the Creator! A belief in the God of the Bible comes with a beautiful implication that God himself loves his children. This type of thoughtful teaching is developing a framework that will help our children know God, themselves, and others. May God give you the time, intentionality, and wisdom to pass on this valuable gift to your children.