"Who do you want to be?"

"Who do you want to be?"

Children believe what you tell them about themselves, so you better choose your words wisely. I’m not saying you should give false praise or lie. What I mean is that you as a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, a pastor or a friend, you speak someone to life with your words.

When Evelyn was young and trying to accomplish something that took a good deal of effort, I encouraged her and said, “You can do it. You come from a long line of powerful women.” Even though she was a new bud on this family tree, she needed to know that she was a continuation of a tradition and a mindset.

When raising children, there is so much reflection that goes on in one’s mind...at least there has been for me. I remember my teenage years and young adulthood as a time of trying to figure out who I was. And as a parent, I decided that it would be much easier if I helped Evelyn by telling her who she already is and she could add to it as she saw fit.

In addition to being from a long line of strong women, she needed to know: You are a child of God. You are the perfect creation of God the Father...an eternal source of love and light and your life has a purpose and you have special gifts.

When Nathan was born, I explained that she was now a big sister. And we talked about what an important job that is. That this identity came with adoration and responsibility. That her words and actions toward her little brother mattered. And I asked, “What type of big sister do you want to be?”

“A good one,” she answered.

She has been an exceptional big sister. And in return, she has a loving younger (now taller than she) brother.

Creativity has been huge in our household as it was in mine growing up. Paints and glue and scissors and string and leaves and beans and beads were stocked near our craft table. Daily, both kids worked at creating. “You are an artist,” I would say. Not, “one day you will be an artist” as if it were something outside of their grasp. But rather, you are already an artist. This was another identity both my children could add to their quivers.

“I am a Child of God, a sister, a brother, a daughter, a son, an artist a baker, a cook.” The list can go on and on and be created by you...the parent, the grandparent, the teacher, the pastor, the friend.

What are the ways you have created connection and identity in your family?

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