As a former principal, I found that our children did not expect God’s blessings and favor in their lives. They were victims of self-talk. Early on in life, they became what their self-talk said they were. They were defined by what others told them they were. It was during this time that I discovered and tested my theory. When children reported to my office, I would ask them why they were acting the way they did. Most would start verbalizing the negative self-talk. I would hold several meetings with them to change their negative self-talk into positive self-talk. I’d use the Fruit of the Spirit as the essence of who they are. Over time the children would begin to see themselves differently, and their self-talk would change, which led to a change in behavior.
When I spoke with the children doing well scholastically and socially, about their self-narrative, I found their parents reinforced a positive self-narrative from birth. To be clear, not all of the students were Christians, so their self-talk may have differed a bit, but none-the-less, it created a positive self-talk narrative for the children. Their self-talk would say, I am smart, I am strong, I am kind, I am honest, I am trustworthy, I make good grades, I am friendly and so on.
Since the world helps define us, we must counter it by instilling the Word of God in our children’s lives. Our self-talk defines our expectations; our children should expect God’s blessings and favor.
Jesus said, bring the little children to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to them as much as you (adults). (Mark 10:14 NIV) We self-talk as many as 30,000 times a day. Self-talk is a type of meditation. Joshua 1:8 says, keep the words of the Bible on your lips, meditate on it day and night.It is important that we learn to fill ourselves with the right thoughts of blessings and favor and meditate on what the Word says about us. The thoughts that work for the good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). Right thoughts are the messages we tell ourselves every day. Our children should tell themselves that they are children of God and are important and valuable to him. Their self-talk should reiterate the Fruit of the Spirit (see September posts), stating that they are good, kind, loving, strong, honest, trustworthy, patient, gentle, have self-control, are at peace, joyful, smart, thoughtful, have integrity, and are successful, If we do not edify our children, the world will reinforce self-talk that focuses on worrying thoughts, putting themselves down, saying they are stupid, clumsy, ugly, dumb, unloved, not worthy, less than, second best, and worthless.
Self-talk helps build our self-esteem, something so many children do not have in these times of bullying, alienation, and doubt. Negative self-talk can lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence and perhaps depression. Positive self-talk of blessings and favor is a form of encouragement. Biblically, we can say that positive self-talk is from the Lord, and negative self-talk is from the evil one, who is here to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). What we hear about ourselves from others is what we internalize and therefore what we create as our self-talk narrative.
Internal conversations can go on forever. Negative self-talk is very destructive and can derail a person from their God-given purpose in life. It is during the early years of life that the self-narrative begins. We can create our children’s self-narrative defined by God or allow the evil one to define our children’s self-narrative and allow him to destroy who they are in Christ.
“from infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:14-15)
Expecting Gods blessings and favor are gifts that we acquire through an understanding of the word and how God defines who we are in Christ. As we read the scriptures to our children and teach them how to apply the word to their daily lives they begin to self-talk using the words God uses to describe them. When someone tells our children they are stupid, ignorant or dumb, their self-talk will say, I am of sound mind. When someone tells them they are babies because they are afraid to steal the candy in the store, their self-talk will say, I am honest and trustworthy. When someone says you are slow, they will say, I am patient. When they say you are worthless, their self-talk will say, I am thoughtful, I am confident, I have self-control.
We self-talk at least 30,000 times a day, what do you want your children’s self-talk to say? Our children should have a Godly self-narrative to lead them through life. They should expect blessings and favor.