My oldest son Anthony is five, and has already struggled with mild self-esteem issues.
At the tender age of four he angrily questioned me as to why he was brown and everyone else in his family was either white or black.
On several occasions I have felt at a loss as to how I could lead my son to a place of self-acceptence. Being different is difficult at any age, but as a preschooler, it makes it that much harder. You are still trying to figure out what the world is, whats its made up of, how to make sense of this crazy thing called life.
My son came home from preschool with a book in his backpack. It was a christmas gift from the local lions club, a beautiful giant board book called “I Like Myself.” I was immediately curious and we sat down to read it together.
The book depicts a beautiful little African American girl who is dancing around the book, telling the world that she LIKES herself. She likes everything about herself; the way she looks and the way she acts. She doesn’t care about her appearance or if she is different, or if people don’t like her because of the way she looks. She likes herself regardless. This made me so happy! My favorite page says “No matter if they stop and stare, no person, ever, anywhere can make me feel that what they see is all there really is to me.”
A few days later I was watching YouTube videos with the boys and a few of the munchkins I babysit and I came across a Sesame Street Video called “I Love My Hair.” I thought this was absolutely wonderful also. The little girl loves her hair because its unique and versatile and she knows she is beautiful!
Being comfortable in my own skin is still something that I struggle with on a daily basis. Do I measure up? Am I good enough? Pretty enough? Will people like me? The same insecurities that taunted me as a small child, feeling unaccepted because I was different still have to be consciously suppressed most days. But what would it be like to look in mirror and LOVE what I saw? What would it be like to genuinely ACCEPT myself, every inch of me?
I cant guarantee I will ever feel that way about myself, but I do know that I will do anything I can to help my children get to that place. The world is filled with hate and ignorance, and I want my kids to be able to withstand the pressures, and stand up for themselves, knowing in their hearts that the only opinion that matters is Gods.
I don’t know about the rest of you but I was greatly encouraged by the messages that this book and song were telling kids. The way you look isn’t important, life is about you who are on the inside. I want my kids to grow up reassured that being a different color skin doesn’t matter, its about their hearts and minds and souls.
What do you think? Do you believe embracing your differences is vital for successful, happy and confident kids?
Blessing 2: The Internet
-I am so thankful for how wonderfully easy it is today for me to share my heart and bear my soul to all of you who support my efforts in reading my blog. I am so thankful for how easy it is with medias like YouTube and Facebook to share interest, educational links and fun videos such as the one above that make us smile and connect us all in one way or another.