Fathers, what’s one of the greatest gifts you can give your children?
It’s not money, toys, or even a college education. It’s not clothes, athletic ability, or a car when they turn sixteen.
But you already knew all that. So what is it?
All children, especially as they enter their teen years are asking one question, “Who am I?” And they are constantly looking outside themselves to find the answer. It’s why the likes and dislikes of your tweens and teens seem to change by the minute. They’re not trying to be difficult, they’re just trying to figure out who they are…likes and dislikes included.
As a man, even Jesus needed an answer to the question, “Who am I?” Author Dan Spader points out,
“It was critical to Jesus that He understand who He belonged to. At His baptism, for the very first time, Jesus heard His Father’s voice say, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). In the Old Testament, learned rabbis would string together key verses from three major parts of the Old Testament to convey a truth. This was called stringing pearls. At Jesus’s baptism, God the Father did the same thing. He took references from three major portions of the Old Testament and strung them together to make a profound statement: “You are my son” (Psalm 2:7) “whom I love” (Genesis 22:2) “with you I am well pleased” (Isaiah 42:1). With these three brief citations, God spoke of Jesus as a king, as servant, and His son.”
Did you catch that? God the Father blessed God the Son (Jesus) with an identity. With three short statements, the Father told the Son, “this is who you are—a king, a servant, and my Son.” The result, Jesus lived out his identity.
It’s the same today. Our children will always live out their identity. The only question is where will their identity come from?
Fathers, God has given you and me the great opportunity to give our children an identity…a good identity. How can we do this?
First we start with ourselves. How have we been defined? How do we see ourselves? If we struggle with our own identity we must repeatedly come to our Heavenly Father and receive his words, “You are my son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” Because of what Jesus did for us, we can own those words.
Then let us speak these words in different ways, at different times, again and again, over our children. Let us remind our children whenever possible that they are loved, they are objects of pride, and that they are sons and daughters of God.
How we define or don’t define our children will dramatically impact how they live. So let us not waste the opportunity God has given us. Let us give our children one of the greatest gifts of their life…the gift of an identity.