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Parents, Your Kids Are Probably Not Special (And Neither Are We)

Of course your children are special to you, and it is great for you to tell them that! However, if everyone is special, then nobody is. Yet, trying to make everyone feel special seems to be the goal of childrens' sports leagues, parents, some preachers, and the culture at large. I would like to propose that we ought to focus less on our children being special and more on them being sacred and valuable.
Special - better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.
By definition, you are only special if you are superior to others in a certain group. You are special if you are one of the smartest, best looking, or most talented. When we focus on our children being special, they come to believe that being special makes them valuable and loved. One day most of our children will realize they are somewhat ordinary. Most will not be at the top of their graduating class. Statistically speaking, your children will probably not turn pro in whatever sport they play. If children come to believe that they are valuable and loved because they are special, what will happen when they realize they are not so special? Or perhaps even worse, what if they realize they truly are special and believe that makes them more valuable than others who do not excel as they do?
     In my counseling practice, I sit and talk with many who are in despair. At one time they were one of the smartest, most athletic, or most attractive. However, due to a natural decline or others simply catching up, at some point they began to realize they were more ordinary than they hoped. Because they learned to feel valuable due to their specialness, they began to despair and question their own worth.
     What if we began to believe that valuable does not equal special? Our children are valuable because they are sacred, not because they are special. They are created in the image of God, which makes them more valuable than being "special" could ever make them (Genesis 1:27). Not everyone can be special, but every human being is valuable beyond measure. 
     As a parent of two sons, I want my boys to know that they are loved, valuable, and sacred. They are special to me, and I will tell them that often. However, I don't want to make specialness the focus. Bryce may or may not be the smartest in his kindergarten class in a few years. Blake may or may not be the most athletic on his Little League teams. Even if they are, I do not want them to believe that this specialness makes them loved and valued. One day, they most likely will not be the smartest and most athletic. When that day comes, I want them to know they are still valuable, sacred, and loved, because specialness was never the basis for their value in the first place.
     If this is true (and it is), then we do not have to be special parents and our children don't have to be special kids. We are all valuable and sacred, because we were fearfully and wonderfully knitted together by our Creator God (Psalm 139:13-14). We are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and friends. We are created in the image of Almighty God, and being special does not add an ounce of value to that!
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