Jr. High -

A parent’s response to ‘I AM’ —

By Cindy Branton

What a beautiful, terrifying responsibility we have as parents to help develop the identity of our children. We get to influence their answers to the resounding question that permeates their junior high experience at Believe, “Who Am I?”

"We have to be relentless in reminding students the basic truths about their identity. It’s our job to creatively weave these truths into the everyday parts of life and ministry. "

The 2019 theme of Believe was “I AM.” As junior high students are beginning to search for their identities, Believe equips them with five very important truths:

 

1. I am a masterpiece
2. I am a child of God
3. I am the Church
4. I am who God says I am
5. I am a Kingdom worker

 

So how can we as parents and youth workers continue this conversation in our homes? How can we build on what our students have learned about their identity?

 

As part of the Believe program, students saw a film titled “I am a Henderson.” It’s a look into a young person’s life and all of the different identities that she explores. She begins the film by writing “WHO AM I?” on her mirror. She tries her hand at a plethora of personalities – from a graceful ballerina to a moody artist. She struggles with discouragement and disappointment when none of these personas are who she was created to be.

 

Throughout the film, there is a constant presence of her parents who remind her exactly who she is. Day after day they leave sticky notes on her mirror all with the same message: “You are a Henderson.” As she explores, fails and learns, they continuously write the same message.

 

We have to be relentless in reminding students the basic truths about their identities. It’s our job to creatively weave these truths into the everyday parts of life and ministry. But what does this look like practically? How can we thoughtfully impart these answers to our kids?

 

Maybe your answer is as beautifully simple as the Henderson’s approach: Sticky notes! What would happen if you broke open a new pack of sticky notes and dedicated them to reminding your child of what you really want them to know. Could you use the five Believe statements and make them your own, write them down, and stick them in inconspicuous places? Could you look for areas of wavering in your child’s identity and provide a constant response of “You are …”

 

For those in youth ministry, how impactful would it be if you regularly handed students a sticky note with words of truth about who they are, and told them to put it in a place they would be reminded. Students are desperately longing to know who they are, and we must capitalize on every opportunity that we are given to speak that truth!

 

Whatever medium or method you choose to reinforce the truth about your student’s identity, choose something simple and consistent! Because as hungry as students are to know who they are, we as parents and leaders deeply long for them to know that they are a masterpiece, they are a child of God, they are the Church, they are who God says they are, and they are Kingdom workers!

 

When students know who God says they are, they have clarity about everything else!

 

05_23_Cindy_Branton.jpgCindy Branton and her husband, Mike, are the parents of Brielle, Braelyn and Briarly. Her email is crbranton@gmail.com.