Sticky Faith ch 3

2 11 2011

These are my answers to questions for Chapter 3 of the Sticky Faith Ministry Parents Online Book Club.

  1. What are some ways you identified yourself growing up? How were they helpful to you as you grew older? How were they harmful?
When I was growing up I identified as shy, quiet, sorta-smart, really really skinny and short, redhead but wanted black hair because everyone noticed my red hair, not athletic – but good at baton twirling, loved learning about music and singing, and enjoyed doing ‘church’. Also I was the oldest child in a single-parent family – often I was considered the good child and my sis/bro made out to be trouble makers. 

Being coined as quiet/shy and too skinny and taking this on as my identity was harmful in giving me a low self-confidence in so many ways. I have a hard time taking complements on my hair,body, clothing, etc. Even in athletic abilities, shy & skinny set me apart from participating because it involved my body. I dabbled here and there but nothing seemed to stick. I found tennis in high school and did pretty well with that. 

I believe I made up for my lack of self-confidence by being involved in whatever I could to lift others up or achieve a status that had to do with what was inside of me rather than how I looked on the outside. Knowledge, Heart, and Faith. Sometimes this got me to places that were quiet vulnerable with my peers. I gave a speech my sophomore year in high school that apparently got me the vote for “Most Easily Embarrassed” my senior year. 

The activities I was involved with though because of my lack in confidence in my appearance did give me several mentors that through the years God used to help rebuild my self-confidence. This is an on-going God project in my life.

2. Of Nouwen’s three answers to the question, “Who am I?”, which of these are you most prone to rely on? Describe what that looks and feels like. Which of these does your child rely on? What does that look like?

I think I take #3 (I am what others say about me) and use #2 (I am what I can control) to prove I am or am not what others say about me. Everyday I take encouragements/words of affirmation to heart and really try to live up to the good things people have to say about me. If I am told something not so great about myself, or someone says I need to improve certain skills or attitudes, I immediately go to work to change that perception others might have about me. It eats at me day and night until I either fix it or realize it simply is a perception and may not be reality. My mind gets tired emotionally bouncing from affirmation to disappointment. 

I’m pretty sure Elie (7) is a “I am what others say about me” type… she is always very concerned about approval from others to dictate whether she is happy or sad. Reminds me very much of myself and I try to safeguard her from it, probably too often. I don’t know what Katie (4) relies on, probably “I am what I control” at her age.

3. On a scale of 1 to 7, 1 being easy, 7 not so easy, how hard is it for you to see yourself as the beloved child of God? How easy is it for your child? Describe what you mean.

Depends on the day, some days more or less than others. I guess if I have to I’ll choose 3. I don’t think I look for approval from God, but definitely base others’ approval (or my perceived others’ approval) as a litmus test on how I am doing as a human being. Ellie is a 2, she knows God loves her and is always telling others of God’s love for them. Katie – probably a 1 at age four. She has had an epiphany in the past few months that she is a child that God loves SOOOOO much – she’s not afraid to let you know either.

4. Name some ways you can emphasize who your child is (a beloved child of God) rather than what your child does. How would this emphasis change your approach to your child’s extracurricular activities or academic achievements?

* I’ve been trying to do this already with Ellie and, man, is it hard somedays. There are days she has low self-confidence in her homework abilities, piano practicing, friendships and more. She is at an age where girls constantly threaten “I won’t be your best friend or I will be your best friend if….” and the promise is more often than not made out of trickery or simply a broken contract. We work to teach her what it means to be a good friend… sometimes that probably comes across as “you’re a bad person if you are a bad friend”. Lately, she keeps asking me “Mommy. do you love me?” and I answer “yes”. I try to find out why she asks, but she rarely has a reason why. I assure her I love her no matter what. 
With Katie, she is still PreK and the extra curriculars are different – and she is treated differently than Ellie when she plays. We always try to affirm them when they make good choices and treat someone well. 




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