Don’t Take That Attitude With Yourself, Young Lady

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Don’t Take That Attitude With Yourself, Young Lady

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On a short list of my life’s credos, you’d find:

  1. There is no such thing as bad pizza; there’s only pizza that is ‘less good’ than other pizza.
  2. If your closet isn’t well lit, it’s only a matter of time before you go to work with one black shoe and one dark brown shoe.
  3. Your attitude is the #1 factor in shaping your well being, your happiness, and what you can accomplish.

 Once, my daughter declared in a moment of frustration that she was “dumb” when it came to math.

“You shouldn’t call someone I care about a name like that,” I said.

When my daughter looked at me quizzically, I said, “Not only is what you said not true (it’s not; she’s good at math), you should never say what you just said about yourself.”

Just today, she and I were reading a story where the main character was being similarly hard on herself. The girl’s Sunday school teacher responded back with the following wise words: “You have to be careful what labels you put on yourself, because you'll start to believe them. And basically we act out what we believe.”

That is so right on. As dads, we need to watch out for how our kids see themselves, and unpack and correct lies we hear them proclaiming that somehow they aren’t good enough, smart enough or ________ enough. (I think I just channeled the Mike Myers’ character Stuart Smalley from the classic SNL skit, but you get my point.)

It should be as unacceptable for your son or daughter to tear down themselves as it would be to watch someone else do it. Helping encourage your child not to have a negative attitude about himself isn’t falling prey to the self-esteem movement. It’s actually avoiding a sin, since when you tear yourself down you are devaluing a child of God … in this case, yourself.

Over time, your child’s words about herself, both negative and positive, can reveal and shape what she believes in her heart. As Luke 6:45 tells us, “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

As dads, we should remind our kids that the attitudes they have about themselves determine a lot about who they will be.

Rich Bennett
 (@coloradorich) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Vice President of Ministry & Marketing Strategy for Focus on the Family. 

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  • --Thanks for the reminder Rich.  Just the other day we had a conversation with our daughter about this when she said, "I am so stupid."  What a great opportunity to affirm their value and to talk through how to work through challenges and frustrations.