Do Your Children Know Who They Really Are?
- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Twentieth-century illustrator Norman Rockwell was famous for his iconic depictions of everyday life in America. His distinctive style and subject matter captured the optimism and can-do spirit of his time, most notably in the 322 original covers he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine.
For the March 6, 1954 issue, Rockwell painted "Girl at Mirror," one of his most enduring images. In this picture, a young girl sits on a stool and studies herself in a large mirror propped up against a chair. In her lap is a magazine open to a full-page photo of the movie star Jane Russell. Nearby are a tossed-aside doll, a comb, a hairbrush, and some cosmetics. There's a bittersweet humor to the image of a little girl coming to terms with the hard fact that the mirror refuses to give back the glamorous image she sees in the magazine.
But the girl also seems to be asking, Who am I? Who will I be when I grow up? Will anyone love me? These are not just the jumping-off point for daydreams and childhood fantasies; they are important questions for both girls and boys. Your children are probably already asking these same questions. But where are they going for the answers? Their parents? Friends? Girls' Life magazine? The Disney Channel? Sports heroes? American Idol?
In Rockwell's painting, the mirror and the magazine represent a choice every person must make. Will we try to please the world and live up to an impossible standard of beauty and success portrayed in TV shows and movies? Or will we please God by allowing Him to make us into the unique person He created each of us to be?
Your children need to understand they are not the sum of the clothes they wear, the things they own, the friends they make, or the honors they earn in life. They are much, much more. Each of them is created in the image of God. Only when they truly understand what this means can they begin to know who they are and why they were put on this earth.
The Bible tells us, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27). This means God made each of us to be like Him in many ways. Does this mean your daughter has eyes like His? Do your son and God both have brown, curly hair that frizzes when it rains? Of course not. Being made in God's image does not mean that any of us physically resembles God. After all, God is spirit (John 4:24) and cannot be seen (1 Timothy 6:16). Rather, being made in God's image means that He created us with certain characteristics, or attributes, that God Himself possesses. In some ways we are like God; in other ways we are not. For example, people are not omniscient or omnipotent, all-knowing or all-powerful. And though it may sometimes seem like your children are everywhere at once (except at bedtime, when they're nowhere to be found), they are not omnipresent, though God is.
So how then are people like God? First of all, we need to understand that God is a personal being, not a mystical field of energy like the Force in Star Wars. A person has a mind, emotions, a will, a conscience, creativity, and a spirit. Does God have these things? Let's see:
- God is creative (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:11).
- God has thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalm 139:17-18).
- God has feelings (Genesis 6:5-6; Zephaniah 3:17).
- God makes choices (Deuteronomy 7:6-8; John 6:38).
- God knows right from wrong (Genesis 3:22; Job 34:12).
- God is a spiritual being (John 4:24; Romans 8:16).
As a person, each of us has the ability and desire to create, we can think and know things with our minds, we can feel emotion, we make choices, and we know the difference between right and wrong. We each have a spirit, created by God, that will live on for all eternity. These qualities separate people from the animal kingdom and set us above all other creatures on earth. We are God's masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10).
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