Something my dad drilled into me growing up was to not care what other people think.
My dad’s mother was married 7 times and died at 49 years old. He met his “real” dad when he was 25 years old.
My dad has had every reason to care deeply what others think of him – to find his security in others’ confidence in him. But, he doesn’t.
He’s beat the odds and has been married to my loving mother for 47 years.
He was, and is, a trailblazer.
He simply doesn’t care what people think. I’ve always loved that about him.
Sometimes it makes my mom mad, like when they were first married and he served salad to the guests with his hands (eeks!), and my mom had to run to get serving forks.
But, many times it’s what draws her to him.
I’m grateful that when I was a little girl he instilled in me to not care what others think. That same quality is one of the things that drew me to my husband thirteen years ago.
I’m not talking about hearing and gaining wisdom from others. I’m talking about caring too much what others think and being swayed by them in an unhealthy way.
Do I struggle with this at times? Yes. I think we all do to a degree, but I care far less what others think than I otherwise would have.
We all have the chance to instill these freeing truths into our kids’ hearts.
I want my children to care mostly about what God thinks. And, I want them to care what they think of themselves.
I don’t want them to care about trends.
I don’t want them to care about what course culture takes.
I want them to follow their deep convictions and what makes them come alive.
Let’s remind our children over and over again that true life and joy are found in Jesus.
That the here and now is temporary, but that the Lord and the Eternal lasts.
That we DO NOT have to jump on the bandwagon.
That we can run freely with the Lord – the life-giving way – by not loving the opinions of others, but loving the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul, and loving others.
This verse is intense, but so good. It makes me want to check myself: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
My 8-year-old daughter did NOT want to keep her hair like this.
She told me she loved it, but didn’t normally wear it this way and “What will the other kids think?” she asked. “They’re going to tease me.” So, she took it down.
After school, my husband and I talked more with her about the freedom in not caring what people think, but caring mostly about what the Lord thinks of her.
I told her that, “If the ‘strong-personality girl’ in your class teases you about your hair, WHO CARES? Tell her you like it and walk away.
But this really isn’t about hair at all.
It’s about telling our kids not to make decisions based on what the world thinks, so they will be more prepared to walk away from the crowd when that crowd is up to no good.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:14 are some of the most powerful words we can share with our kids: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave…and shake the dust off your feet.”
Jesus calls us to pray them (MT 5), but he also says to shake the dust off your feet and leave if they don’t welcome you. While the verse is talking about leaving if someone won’t listen to your words about Jesus, I think we can relate it to everyday life.
I want my kids to care mostly about following Jesus and not others’ opinions.
I want them to be concerned with pleasing the Lord and not jumping on the bandwagon.
When they mess up, I want them to be refreshed by the forgiveness Jesus came to give us.
When my kids feel weak, I want them to call out to Jesus.
I want my kids to choose Jesus, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because they love Him.
The next day, my daughter did wear her hair “the new way” and she loved it. The following day, she wore her hair another new way.
This small choice was empowering. She’s seeing bit by bit how to not let others define her, but to look to the Lord for her confidence.
Jesus, would you move our kids’ hearts in this way. We pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them to care more about what you think, Lord, than what others think. Give our kids strength, joy, and confidence to let go of the opinions of others and to seek you first, Jesus. Thank you, Lord. We love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
When our little ones act “needy”, isn’t It easy to think we need to push them to independence?
When an American missionary in Papa New Guinea said she was trying to make her kids more independent of her, an indigenous Ipili woman gave her profound, simple wisdom.
At a certain point, it is healthy for our kids to be more independent. But in those early years, instead of pushing them to independence too early, hold them close so they will be more secure and so one day can sprout their wings and fly.