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We ourselves speak proudly of you. 2 THESSALONIANS 1:4
If there's anything that characterizes the teenage years, it's self-doubt.
Barbara and I had six teenagers progress through our house. At one point we had four at the same time. And it was frequently obvious that the origin for some of their behaviors—and for many of the words coming out of their mouths—was their doubts about themselves.
As difficult as they sometimes would be, we knew how imperative it was for us to look them in the eye and say, "I love you. I believe in you. I'm glad you're my son [or daughter]."
There's nothing like a mom and dad's love to soften their hearts and ease their doubts.
On our FamilyLife Today program, we interviewed Josh Weidmann, who has become a passionate Christian voice to teens and college students. He told us about once being at a youth camp and preaching on the biblical story of Esther. As he told about how beautiful the queen was in form and feature, he said, "You know, I want to stop here and tell you—every individual woman in this room—you are beautiful, and you are God's creation."
As soon as those words left his lips, he heard what he describes as the loudest gasp he'd ever heard in his life. Why? Because so few of these girls believed it. So few had been reassured at home that they had worth and value and were loved—just for who they were.
Even after my sons outgrew me, I would hug them and tell them I loved them. I never had the sense that I said it too much. When my girls had become beautiful young women and I wasn't always sure I should hold them too close, I would hug them and affirm them and tell them how lovely they were to me.
No matter how big they get and how adult-like they look, never stop expressing your belief in your children. They need it.
Give yourself a grade on how well you do on expressing love and belief. Talk about how you can express it more.
Pray that your children will never be starved for your love and affirmation.