A Father's Perspective
The Identity Series is a collection of posts from the Impressions team designed to magnify the Father's heart reflected in the complexity of humanity. This project will emulate truth about where our identities are found and the unique calling that has been instilled into each and every soul.
Identity is a very peculiar thing. Elusive. Ambiguous. Seemingly just out of reach.
It is easy for us to identify with various things in our lives. With the activities we are in involved in. The friends we are surrounded by. The different interest groups and clubs we are apart of. Political opinions and varying religious beliefs. Our family, or lack thereof. Our influences. Our experiences. But when it comes to finding our concrete person hood, our actual identity, it's never so easy. We go through life watching others and trying to find the identity that fits us, trying to fit in. Striving to be liked or even just accepted for who we are, whatever that may be. It's no wonder that so many kids are struggling - it's a constant battle to perform and live up to whatever "identity" is the most popular.
I stand in the back of a room and see a group of young kids, where rivaling personalities are caught in the timeless struggle to be seen. Inevitably, there are those that are always trying to be the center of attention, always caught in the riptide of maintaining a certain image to be well liked. They need that reassurance. Then there are those always standing on the outside of the circle looking in, usually calculating that one thing to say or do that makes the rest of the group know they are there. That they are an important piece of the group. That they even exist. They are not sure where, or even if, they fit in. In either case, these kids are struggling with nailing down their identity. They, like so many of those that came before them, are flailing in the whirlwinds of society, whose standards change so fast that no one is ever actually able to keep up.
As a father of two bright and wonderful children, I look at my kids and all I want is the best for them. Standing in the back of that room, watching my kids interact with others, struggling, I want so desperately to step in and help them figure it out. Help them find the right words to say to be "cool." But I can’t, I won't. Sure I have been there - we all have. I know what works and what doesn’t. I know the right things they should say to keep people interested. But it’s not my place. I have to let them find their own way. To struggle and fall down, but to be there to help them pick themselves back up and dust themselves off.
I have always told my kids that I am there for them. I encourage them to try new things. I have taught them that there is nothing that should hold them back from chasing their dreams. I try to instill in them the power of the Word. That through the blood of Jesus, they can do anything they set their minds to - no matter what. I try to teach them that its absolutely vital to keep God as the center of their world for only He can help them truly find their identity. I do this in hopes that through the nitty gritty living of their lives, they will discover who they are and what best fits them. There is way too much negativity in this world and now, more than ever, it is so important to show our kids that they are loved and supported in all they do.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13
One of the important things we as parents, especially fathers, can do for our children is to let them be who they are. There is this stigma floating around that as dads we need to put on that “tough guy” persona thinking our kids should be or act a certain way. We want them to be cool so we can relieve our own deep set insecurities and prove to our own friends that our kids are the in crowd. Nothing like being selfish, right? In the end, this is actually the worst thing we can do. We have to allow them to be who God has created them to be. We have to love them just as they are, no matter what, and we have to show it. After all, isn’t that the way God loves us? Just the way we are? We have to let them know it is okay to just be themselves, trusting that their Heavenly Father will be faithful to complete the good work that's been started in them. It is not our place to tell them who to be, who to love, or what to do with their lives. We can, and should, offer guidance and correction, but it must always be offered in love and grace. We have to teach them that as long as they pursue a relationship with the One that created them, and rely on Him completely, they will find their way. The way that has already been innately and purposefully created for them. After all, it is their identity, not ours.