Many of you with children likely have little “quirky” things you do with your children. They may have started as a joke or something you did once, and it became normal for you to do. For EmmaLee-Tyler and me, one of those things is a phrase I say to her. When she says or does something really funny (that usually makes her mom roll her eyes) I typically follow it up by saying “My Girl!” is a silly voice! She likes it when I do it! After I say that, EmmaLee-Tyler typically laughs at me and we all have a fun laugh. Today, she said four words that reminded me of a big lesson I needed to remember!
We were sitting around the table eating lunch together when MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she wanted real chickens in our yard. MaeLee has been trying to get me to get us chickens for years now (that’s another story for another day)! In the midst of the conversation about chickens, MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she would help get chicken eggs if we had chickens. EmmaLee-Tyler responded, “No! I just want to eat the chickens!” Cue MaeLee’s chuckle and eye roll at our funny girl, and then it happened. EmmaLee-Tyler looked at me and said, “Daddy, say ‘my girl.'” In that moment it struck me that she was looking for validation. Validation that she was funny, validation that she was loved, validation that she was indeed “my girl.” I resolved in that moment I would always strive to remind her of two things!
First, I resolved to make sure she always knew she was “my girl” no matter what. My love for her is unconditional, and she needs to know that. She needs to know that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what mistakes she makes, no matter if she ever makes another funny joke, that she is and will always be “my girl.” There may be times I don’t say it, or times she doesn’t want me to say it (embarrassing parents, am i right?), but she needs to know that her being “my girl” isn’t based on anything she does or doesn’t do, but it simply based on the fact that I love her!
Second, I resolved to make sure that she knows her validation doesn’t come from me (or any boy for that matter), but from her Heavenly Father. There will be days when she is older when peer pressure will creep in, and in those moments I want her to remember that her worth isn’t wrapped up in another person’s approval, but His approval. As her dad, I have to lead the charge to remind her of her true value, which is found in Him.
Neither of these things are “new truths” for me. In fact, they are both things about which we seek to be extremely intentional. But today was a fresh reminder that even at the age of three and a half our children are seeking approval and validation. Make sure you remind your children today that your love for them is unconditional, but more importantly remind them that God’s love for them is unconditional and that rooting their identity in Him is the only way for a secure future.
Counting all things loss,