As foreign nationals, the differences of people stare us down every single day like a bull about to charge. It’s intense at times. The Rainbow Nation very adequately describes South Africa. It truly is a melting pot of people, culture, language, and ways of thinking.
All of those things, along with the uniqueness of who God created us to be shape who we are. It sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? It is beautiful, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I find it, at times, difficult and sometimes frustrating.
There’s a few nuggets I’ve learned, and still am learning, to appreciate the differences in all of God’s creation. These are nuggets that I’m trying to teach my kids in order for them to see the beauty of how God made each one of us.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
1. It starts with believing Psalm 139:14 for yourself and others. God made each of us unique. In order to appreciate the differences in ALL of God’s creatures, we must teach our kids to believe that every single person is fearfully and wonderfully made, no matter if they look different than us, think different than us, or speak different than us. A great book that talks about how wonderful and fearful God made us is God Made Me This Way. This cute board book drives home that each and every one of us were made for a purpose!
2. Engage conflict when it comes. Differences create conflict. It’s just a natural action. They key is how we handle it. I was having a conversation with my daughter recently about a skirmish she was having with a friend. I told her I wasn’t going to fix it for her but that I would offer some helpful advice. It’s hard to see our kids go through conflict, but they need to learn how to navigate in order to be adults that function well in life.
3. Speak positively about the different ways God made us. The reason we get to frustration level is that differences can rub us the wrong way. They hit a nerve, a value, a way of thinking. When our kids come to us about the injustice of it all, we can turn the frustration around just by the positive way we speak about the different ways God has made us. Words have the power of life and death as it says in Proverbs 18:21. Positivity equals life.
What important nuggets of wisdom have you learned that teach your kids to appreciate the differences in all of God’s creatures?