If I were to ask you, “Who are you?” How would you answer that question?
What if I added some stipulations to that answer, like: You can’t include any roles you have. You can’t include any of your accomplishments or failures. You can’t include any descriptions like: funny, smart, pretty, ugly, fat, athletic, etc. You can’t include what you do. Would you be able to answer my question?
Who are you?
When we are stripped of everything, all accomplishments, roles, natural abilities, and work–what’s left? Who are we then?
This may seem like a strange post for a homeschooling blog, but I believe it’s the most appropriate post for a site focused on helping parents educate their children. The fact is, every single student I’ve taught and every adult I’ve mentored has struggled with this question. I’ve struggled with this question as well. The fact is that when we don’t know who we are, we spin our wheels trying to figure it out or we let others define us.
Lately, I’ve been working with a student who told me, “People say I’m dumb and I believe them.” Then throughout our session she intentionally misread words, chose incorrect answers and pretended not to know what to do. I’ll be honest, it was one of the strangest sessions I’ve ever had with a kid. She was determined to be dumb. She’s actually very smart.
I tell my children and my students, that we may do something dumb, but that isn’t who we are. We may do something, bad, but that doesn’t define who we are. We may fail at a task, but that doesn’t make us a failure.
If we don’t help our children wrestle with the question, “Who am I?”, they could spend years and years trying to “find themselves.” They’ll look for significance and value in what they are able to accomplish, the jobs or roles they have, their failures, or things that happen to them. Think about it, some of us define ourselves by what others have done to us. We are victims. That’s how we’ve defined ourselves. Lurking in the back of our head, no matter what we accomplish we can’t get away from being that victim.
As I am planning for the coming school year, I’ve decided to make it a priority to be intentional about helping my children answer the question, “Who am I?” I want to launch them into this world with a firm foundation of knowing who they are. I don’t want them to spend their lives trying to please people like I have. I don’t want them allowing their identity to be defined by the college they get into, their job, or any other thing they can accomplish.
We are more than our jobs, and our roles. We are more than what we are able to accomplish.
Think about it. When you held your child in your arms for the first time, you loved him or her. Your little baby was precious. He or she hadn’t done anything to deserve your love. He hadn’t painted any pictures, thrown any balls, read any books, worked any math problems, hugged your neck, or done anything – except exist. Your child didn’t even return the love you gave. And yet… you loved that precious child simply because he or she was yours. End of story.
Every person is precious and valuable from the moment of conception because he or she has been created in the image of our Creator. Our Creator gave each of us our value and worth. It’s not something we work to earn. It’s not something we work to maintain. Humans are valuable.
There is something special about people that is very different from the rest of all creation. We have been given special intelligence and ability that no other animal has. Our ability to create, to love, and to think is like no other species.
We are different.
That difference, I believe, is because our Creator made us with some of his unique and special qualities. In fact, the Bible says that we are made in His image or likeness. Our Creator breathed his breath of life within man, and he became a living soul. No other animal or creation is made like our Creator.
You are significant. You’re valuable. You are the masterpiece of the Creator. You are His treasure.
If every person on the planet earth believed these truths down to the very core of their beings, how could that change the world? How would your life change if you knew without an ounce of doubt that you’ve been meticulously, wonderfully, and purposefully created by the Supreme God of the Universe? What if you knew that you were already amazing? Would it change your relationships? Would change the way you do your work?
Wouldn’t this be an amazing gift to give to our children? I certainly think so.
So where do you begin? I’m glad you asked. 😉
This summer I’ll be releasing an ebook that will further discuss this idea. It will also provide many practical ideas for parents who want to prepare their children to live a life of purpose and meaning.