How do we raise our kids to love like Jesus did and look beyond outward appearance to the heart,
to talk to people even when they think and look differently than ourselves,
to get that each person has a story,
to understand that people long to be known?
I think it begins with teaching our kids what matters to the Lord: “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
When I taught at a predominately African-American school focused on racial reconciliation, we were open and honest in our conversations about race.
I remember a conversation in one of my classes. One of my fourth grade students shared a story about white people and said to me, “Well, I’m not talking about you–I don’t see you as white.”
She saw past my appearance because she knew me.
It took knowing me to begin breaking down the walls of stereotype and judgment.
She saw me as a person.
Relationships make that happen.
They strip down the walls and stereotypes we build up.
So, how do we raise our kids to do this?
We teach them to look to the heart of a person.
We teach them that God has created each person uniquely and in his image.
We teach them that we are to love others who are different and similar.
We model it.
Our attitude toward people different than us is reflected to our kids.
I assume that’s what most of us want – to be seen for who we are, on the inside.
We are all very different, but we also have one beautiful thing in common:
Every one of us is made in the image of God (GN 1:27).
I am so inspired by MLK Jr.’s passion and pursuit to bring all people together and to look beyond appearance. I love his words here:
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”
Let’s share these truths with our children so they will see people as people, and look past outward appearance to the heart.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16
My husband began asking our girls the following question when they were 3 years old: “What makes you beautiful?” At 8 years old, they still answer, “My heart, mind, and soul.”
Let’s share this with our daughters so they will prize loving the Lord & others and inner beauty above all else, and
so they will know what truly makes them beautiful.
A Prayer for our Children…