Countering Cruelty

You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13

Psychologist Clyde Narramore once told about a second-grade teacher who wanted to demonstrate the relative meaning of the words large and small to her class. She selected a girl and boy and had them come to the front of the room. The teacher then put her hand on the girl’s head and said, “Large, large, Sharon is large.” Sharon, now self-conscious, was indeed the tallest girl in the class and was sensitive about it. Then the teacher said, “Small, small, David is small.” Poor David was humiliated. The last thing any boy wants is to be known as the smallest and most powerless child in his class. The teacher was oblivious to the pain she was causing Sharon and David.

As your children grow, any deviation from the norm—in height, weight, hairstyle, skin color, voice, et cetera—will be pointed out by their peers and used to embarrass them. Sometimes even adults who should know better will play this cruel game. It’s your job as parents to counteract these hurtful comments with love. Encourage your children. Remind them of their strong qualities and abilities. And above all, employ Scripture passages such as Luke 16:15 to teach your kids that the misguided values of man are often the very opposite of the values of God: “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (nkjv).

Before you say good night…

  • Do you ever tease your children in ways that hurt?
  • How can you help your kids feel positive about their unique characteristics?

O Lord, if only we could see into hearts as You do. If only we could see the wounds and burdens in our child’s spirit. Your eyes miss nothing, Lord. Grant us wisdom so that we might comfort and encourage even as You do. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.