Current SERIES: Keep it Weird
A SERIES ABOUT OUR UNIQUENESS
Series Summary: If you’ve ever watched a circus, Cirque du Soleil, or America’s Got Talent, then you’re probably convinced that humans are capable of some pretty amazing things . . . and some pretty bizarre stuff too. Seeing these things, you might have wondered: Should joints really bend that way? or Is it normal for a grown man to be that into puppets? But the reality is, we all have things that make us different. And, especially in middle school, there’s a lot that can make us feel weird. When God created human beings, He made us to be different—different from the rest of creation and different from one another. In this series, we’ll discover that “keeping it weird” is a good thing. After all, what makes us weird is what makes us both valuable and wonderful.
THINK ABOUT THIS...
Written by Reggie Joiner
Who I am is determined by a combination of things like:
My past experiences
My significant relationships
My personal interests
My spiritual beliefs
My personality traits
My physical characteristics
My natural talents
Each one of these things plays a role in shaping your child’s identity. Sure, there may be a host of people who have things in common with your child in each of these areas, but no one has the same combinations as your individual son or daughter. So, as parents, these issues become a way for us to think about the uniqueness of each of our children, and to help them begin a healthy journey toward understanding who they are. Here are a few suggestions to create an atmosphere in your home that celebrates the value of uniqueness.
Reinforce the Idea of Uniqueness Verbally
How often do you actually say something that encourages a sense of uniqueness in your children? It may seem strange but when my kids were younger, I would say things like, “Sarah, I just want you to know that you are my favorite second-born daughter.” She would reply with a sigh, “Dad, I’m your only second-born daughter!” I would smile and say, “Exactly.” There are a number of ways you can be intentional about saying things to your kids that add to their sense of uniqueness. Be specific. For example instead of saying, “You are a good writer,” you might say something like, “I can tell by your writing that you think in a very detailed way.”
Capture Significant Memories
Your past really does influence your understanding of who you are. Memory is a powerful force. There are significant moments that should be highlighted through photography, symbols, journals, etc. An author friend of mine recently talked about how he decided to collect things to decorate
Get connected to a wider community of parents at TheParentCue.org
There isn’t a more difficult time in life to navigate differences and embrace uniqueness than in middle school. During this time, it can sometimes be hard to see that the things that make us unique are hints at what we can excel at. Especially if we ‘re constantly being teased or pressured to conform to what the popular group deems as “normal.”
One thing we can all do to help our teenagers embrace their uniqueness is to model the way. We can show them what it looks like to embrace the unique characteristics about themselves.
Think about your unique characteristics. How have you recognized, used, talked about, and celebrated them? How difficult was it for you in middle school to embrace these unique qualities? Were you bullied, teased, or ashamed of them? What changed that?
This week, share the answers to these questions with your teenager.
Maybe in the car you say...
• Hey, did I ever tell you what middle school was like for me?
• Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a bad habit of __________ about myself. So I’ve decided instead of ____________, I am going to change the way I talk about it. I need your help!
• Hey, remind me when we get home to show you a [picture, figurine, trophy, etc.] that I received when I as in middle school.
One of the best gifts you can give your teenager is to normalize their feelings around their unique qualities. This conversation can be the first step towards creating an atmosphere in your home that celebrates the value of uniqueness.
WEEK 1: October 1
In this two-week series, we’ll be talking about what it’s like to be weird. After all, even the most normal among us are still weird in our own ways. Sometimes feeling weird can make us feel worthless or alone. But the truth is, God created us to be different from the very beginning. When God made man, He created us in His own image. As humans, we’re pretty different from the rest of creation. In God’s eyes, this unique characteristic is exactly what gives us value. And when you recognize your value as God’s greatest creation, you begin to be more okay with the things that make you feel weird.
SCRIPTURE So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 NIV)
God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:31a NIV)
What makes you weird is what gives you value.
WEEK 2: October 8
Last week, we talked about how God created us in His image, and that makes us valuable. And not only are we different from the rest of creation, we’re different from one another too! There are unique things about each of us that make us different from everyone else. And when we realize those things about ourselves, that’s when we really start to feel weird. This week, we’ll learn from the story of Samuel anointing David as the future king, that when man looks at the outside, God sees the heart. And we’ll discover that not only does our weird make us valuable, it also makes us wonderful.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13–14 NIV).
What makes you weird makes you wonderful.