“The things that make me different are the things that make me, me.” … Winnie the Pooh
Children aren’t the only ones who need reminders of their value and identity. Jesus delights in us. You are not just accepted or put up with. You are welcomed into His family with delight.
All children will develop a strong sense of identity and this is about Who am I? Where and how do I
belong? What influence do I have in my world? Where does their relationship with Jesus start?
Having a strong sense of identity is about learning that you’re valued and worthy of attention. Children with a strong sense of identity look for and are open to new challenges. They ask questions
and try new things. They know they can contribute to the world and make a difference. They also persist with things and enjoy their achievements. Relationships are the foundations for your child’s strong sense of identity.
To build a strong sense of identity, your child first has to feel they belong. They learn this through
safe and secure relationships – first with their family and later with other caring adults and children. This may also include leaders from church groups, e.g. Sunday School or elders in their congregations that are always there checking in on them.
Your child’s identity is also shaped by the ways that you and others respond to them.
As they grow, most children show interest in being part of a group and playing with others. They
become increasingly confident in different social situations and learn that their actions can have effects on themselves and others. Having a strong sense of identity doesn’t mean you have an
outgoing or social personality. A quiet or shy child can also have a strong sense of identity.
“We are all different and no one is the same. There is no one else in the world like you.”
Written and created by a Young Mum here in Sydney, Sela Atiola has written a beautiful book to help demonstrate beginning stages of young hearts questioning their Identity and this book depicts it so well!
Lupe is a young Pasifika girl who was born in the heart of the South Pacific. She is now living with her family in Australia, but she has noticed that, with her beautiful brown skin and curly black hair, she looks different from the other children in her school. Curious about her cultural background and where she comes from, the other children begin to ask her questions like “what are you?” Unsure of how to answer, Lupe turns to her mother for advice but does not receive the answer she was expecting. Instead, Lupe’s mother begins to list all the wonderful qualities that make her who she is.
This fun-loving “What I like about me!” book by Allia Zobel-Nolan proves to kids that, in a world where fitting in is the norm, being different is what makes us special.
Numerous more story books to help share about Identity with young people can be found on these links.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)
In Christ, we are loved. Your identity is a child of God. This Bible verse comes from a chapter that reminds us against the temptation but to live in trying to be your best self in glorifying Jesus. God has the best for His children. He offers you more than the world ever could. You are complete in His love.
Joyce Tangi is the Children’s/Family Ministry Lead and Field Officer (South) within the PULSE team.