Can you imagine?
Can you imagine being one of the people who had come to be baptized by John on the very day that Jesus came to be baptized? On that day the sky opened up, the Holy Spirit looking like a real dove (according to Luke 3:22) came down, and “…a voice came from heaven and said, “You are my Son, the one I love. I am very pleased with you.”” (Luke 3:22 – ERV)
What an experience! What a proclamation! What a feeling it is to be affirmed by the Father.
Beginning January 8, our spiritual formation study is going to be centered around Jesus’s baptism, as we explore Luke 3:1-22. This is when John the Baptist told people that one more powerful than him was coming. In fact, John didn’t even feel worthy to untie this person’s sandals. Then Jesus came to John to be baptized and a heavenly declaration affirmed Jesus as God’s Son.
This is a great opportunity for us (as teachers, parents, grandparents) to follow the model of God’s blessing. It’s a reminder that all children benefit from affirmations of love, that God loves them, and has chosen them just as he chose Jesus. God’s proclamation in Luke 3:22 are the uplifting words that every child wants to hear from their parents. It doesn’t matter if that child is 3 or 63, being affirmed by a parent at any age is a wonderful feeling. I still treasure the affirmation from my dad on his deathbed.
It’s not just a good feeling though.
Using words of affirmation can have a long-lasting positive impact on your child. A child who is regularly affirmed and encouraged, is likely to have greater self-awareness, confidence, and resilience. This can help build positive, healthy relationships with others. They are also more likely to practice positive-self talk and keep a healthy perspective when experiencing the challenges that are part of life.
Use your words of affirmation and praise when…
- reading a story together
- kissing them goodnight
- teaching them to drive
- they go off to college
- they stumble
- they get married…
In other words, don’t stop.
Use words of affirmation and praise when your child has shown good effort. Affirm their hard work and talent when they showcase it to you – a parent’s praise is priceless!
“You are my Son, the one I love. I am very pleased with you.”Luke 3:22
Use words of affirmation even in discipline. It is possible to be consistent and firm, and still extend grace to your child who needs it. This doesn’t mean being a push-over though. Take the time to discipline your child rather than just handing out punishments. It will require a conversation about their wrong-doing, and how they can set it right, listening to their thoughts on the situation. As a bonus, your child will likely internalize this process and practice it on their own as they get older.
God affirms us
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.” (1 Corinthians 1:21-22 – NLT)
The Message paraphrase says it like this (emphasis mine):
Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete.
I don’t know about you, but that fills me with immense hope, giving me more clarity of who I am in Christ. Following God’s lead, affirm, guarantee, confirm, and love your child(ren) throughout all their days. Let them know that you are oh-so-pleased with them, and so is God.
We look forward to seeing the children back in class on January 8, 2023 and unpacking Jesus’s baptism with them through various experiences – drama, games, art, spiritual practices, and God’s Word.
Family Ministry Director