You beam with delight at your children’s Bible class. What you see is a beautiful group of clever children with various gifts, all received according to God’s perfect love and will for their lives. Sadly, many children are incapable of viewing themselves in such a positive way.
Kids tend to compare themselves to others, especially in the areas of attractiveness, popularity, intelligence, and skills. In some circumstances, they may even blame God for their perceived inability to measure up to their friends. Here are some ideas for helping children embrace their uniqueness, the uniqueness God has bestowed on each of us (and them!).
Be vulnerable with your class by admitting that you sometimes feel sad about your own weaknesses and perceived shortcomings. Remind them that it is normal to feel this way now and then. Then ask your class to think about a time they felt sad because it seemed like someone else was more successful at a task or had more appealing characteristics. Emphasize the fact that God made us all uniquely, just the way He wants us. Ask them to share reasons why they think God made us all different.
Discuss how certain persons from the Bible had strengths that helped them carry out God’s will for their lives. For example, Samson was able to defeat many enemies with his physical strength even though he also had weaknesses. Noah’s strong faith helped him be obedient to God and build the ark that saved his family and many animals. He acted on his faith even though people may have mocked him for behaving differently, but even Noah had weaknesses. Ask them to list their strengths and accomplishments on a sheet of paper. Reflect on ways their strengths could help them in the future. Point out that we should embrace our own uniqueness, and we must also appreciate the uniqueness of others. Encourage them to befriend others, even if they seem different.
Affirm the Truth with Scripture
Proclaim the truth about your kids using Scripture. Use a whiteboard or handout to display select verses and reinforce the relevance of God’s Word on this topic. Here are some examples of verses that could help kids shape a positive view of themselves. According to Psalm 139:14, we have been “remarkably and wonderfully made.” Genesis 1:27 tells us we are made “in the image of God.” Paul tells us we are children of God (Galatians 3:26), and we are important because God’s Spirit “lives” in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Share your own positive opinions about your class. Express your confidence that God has great plans for their futures (Jeremiah 29:11). Stress the importance of asking God to help them embrace their uniqueness and thank Him for it. Offer to pray for anyone who has a specific prayer need. Give them hope for the future by reminding them that our eternal lives will be characterized by joy and not sorrow (Revelation 21:4).
Teaching children that their individuality is a gift from God (and not a punishment) will improve their relationship with God and others. Guiding kids to focus on the strengths of others will contribute to their ability to make and maintain friendships. Embracing their own uniquenesses will give them confidence to persevere as they pursue God’s will for their lives. Equipping them with specific verses to defend themselves against negative thoughts will benefit them throughout their lives. You can be an important key to opening their eyes to their own beauty, God’s love, and the acceptance of others.
You can see a list of all of the articles Kim has written on Sunday School Zone.