Our Identity, part 2
1st of February
I established in part one that culture plays a great role in forming our identity. I started to write about the importance of the family and will continue with that now.
A small child is very tight to his parents. What they are saying will have an impact on the child for the rest of his life. The child needs to be confirmed all the time. This is necessary in order for the child to become secure. A child needs consistency. The goal is to make the child see himself through positive glasses. The child will most of the time identify with the same values as the parents. If money and career are important values for the parents, the child will start to value them as well. There are those parents who think they can let their child grow up in a neutral environment. The child should be able to choose religion and political ideas without the influence of the parents. I do not believe this. I do not believe that anybody can be neutral. By the mere fact that they do not teach the children about Jesus, they say that they do not care for Him.
Children are very open and they suck in all information. Ideologists have used and misused that fact for ages. Those who grow up in a Christian home where Jesus plays a natural part of everyday-life, get to know a Person unknown to other children. Jesus becomes a friend to the children, One to Whom they can talk and pray. They will understand that they are not alone and that they always have One Who can help them. Jesus becomes a person with whom they identify. Children might say: “I want to be like Jesus. He is sooo kind. I want to become as strong as Jesus. He is the strongest person in the world.” Adults make religion to something mystical. Jesus is a natural part of a child’s life. THE CHILD LEARNS TO IDENTIFY WITH JESUS. This is where I differ from the psychologist. I BELIEVE THAT OUR IDENTITY IS IN JESUS. HE IS IN US AND WE ARE IN HIM. WE SHOULD HAVE HIS PERSONALITY.
I have seen small children pray over dead snails. They might have caused their death, but they want to bury them and then they have to pray. Prayer becomes a natural part of their daily-life.
Children are very loyal to their parents and they do not want to say anything negative about them. This becomes very clear when you work with children who are abused or ill-treated. That shows how much power parents have over their children and how important they are in forming their children and thereby creating the identity of the future.
In certain states where they have dictatorship, they force the parents to send their children to pre-schools from a very early age. The state wants to form them and create a base for their future identity. In certain states the leader has gotten a role of a daddy, one who will give them all they need. That the same person has killed millions of people will never be told to them neither as children nor when they grow up.
Pre-schools can be very good places where the children learn to play with other children and pay attention to others. They are taught certain moral standards and get education on their level. The teachers working there, will be the substitutes for the parents. They are forming the children. Those at home will often hear the child say: “The teacher is so kind. She is so funny. Oh, my teacher is so silly. I will never be like her.” I personally think that it is good with pre-schools and schools built on a Christian foundation. The children that come from Christian homes will then avoid being confused about the different values. Other parents will know that their children will be influenced by Christianity. I know many Christian schools in India. Most of the children come from homes with other religions, but the parents want their children there because of the high quality. I saw that the children got to know Jesus and some of them got very proud to carry a cross on their uniform. The education itself will decide what the children think are important or not in the future.
FRIENDS AND PLAYMATES:
When the child is small, the mother and father are the most important figures. Then come sisters and brothers, grandparents and other members of the family.
The older the child becomes, the more important friends and peers become. A secure child, will easier be accepted among the other children. A child who is mocked, can get his personality ruined for life. I have seen this happen and it was only a miracle from God that changed the situation.
Those of us with children can remember all the times they came home and said: ” But everybody else is allowed.” There comes a time when they do not want to be different from the accepted crowd. I have a few times met young people with their identity in Christ, music or other hobbies, and they chose this instead of the peer-group.
As the child is approaching the teens, the body and the appearance get to be very important. The body is changing and it is not so strange that they are having questions and thoughts about it. Girls are more together with girls and boys with boys. This is changing when they start dating each other. In this phase in-between, they talk about their bodies. One does’nt think that she or he is liked if the nose is too big or the bottom is too big or the other way around. Some have problems with pimples. During these years they identify very much with their bodies. It is during these years that sicknesses like anorexia and bulimia can develop. Especially girls, but also boys can think that they are fat even if they are extremely thin. I feel that these need help to spirit, soul and body. I have personally prayed with people who got help in these areas.
It is in the teens that they can start to experiment with sex, alcohol and even more dangerous stuff. This can also be a temptation to Christians. If the person already has his or her identity in who they are in Christ Jesus, they can withstand these temptations easier. Adult mothers and fathers that they can talk openly with are also very important. I believe in strong Christian youth groups where the youth can say: “Together, we are strong.”
Many are wondering about the meaning of life during these years and many are wondering about what to do. I am so glad for every person working with young people. It is so important that they meet Jesus in such a way that He becomes real for them. They do not need a religion, but a Person who can be more close to them than any other person. They also need to know why they live and to understand that God has created them for a special purpose. They need people with lots of time for them who can talk and pray with them and guide them when important choices have to be made. They have to choose their studies and a little later a partner for life. They need a person to tell them what they are good at in order to give them confidence in themselves. Most important, they need to understand that Jesus has sent them a Helper, the Holy Spirit. He wants to help them with everything in life.
I RECOMMEND YOU WHO ARE YOUNG TO RECEIVE JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR. HE HAS WASHED YOU WHITE AS SNOW AND HAS A SPECIAL PLAN FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!