I recently came across an article that talked about why women are more stressed out than men. Out of the 7 reasons listed, reason #2 jumped out at me the most stating that Judgment Matters. It started out by saying, "There is a lot of stuff that has to happen behind the scenes for your kid to reach the baseline level of fitting in that will give him or her the confidence needed to one day decide that fitting in isn't important.” It then went on to say that “If you don’t fit in as a kid, you’re going to be consumed with fitting in as a grownup. If you fit in just fine, then you have the confidence to think outside the box, and your wife is probably in charge of everything that helps your kids look, act, and feel relatively normative...which is stressful.”
At first I applauded this analysis, especially the part about giving your child "the confidence needed to one day decide that fitting in isn’t important.” Very true. In fact, I’ve thought about this many times as an adult. I haven’t always had an overabundance of confidence throughout Jared & I’s many moves over the past 10 years since marriage, but I’ve always been grateful for the self-assurance I felt in my formative years (stemmed largely from a solid circle of friends) that’s given me a sense of courage to realize that it’s OKAY to feel like an outsider. BUT the part that assumes confidence to think outside the box is a direct result of fitting in as a kid? Good heavens. What type of confidence are we talking about here? What IS confidence? I think the world would define it as the self-assurance to rely upon yourself, your abilities, your skills, and even your social acceptance.
But my whole definition of confidence has changed over the past few years as I’ve had to really dig deep in times of adversity and recognize the basis of my self worth. I can assure you that when it really mattered, I wasn’t thinking, “Phew! It’s a good thing I fit in as a kid; I’ll get through this.” It’s been more along the lines of, “Phew! Good thing I know who I am…a daughter of God, that’s who I am. He loves me, and He will look after me.”
Without this perception of our divine identity, I’m pretty sure the vantage point of ourselves would come largely from the social mirror: “What does my culture tell me to do? What will others think of me?”
And man alive, it’s getting harder & harder to break that social mirror, isn’t it? I guess reading that article led me to make a commitment within myself to teach my children that confidence in the LORD is what matters. YES, judgment matters. Not the world’s judgment, but Heavenly Father’s judgment. For me, it’s not stressful to be in charge of helping my children recognize that they are literally God’s son or daughter with infinite potential! It’s a privilege, and I’m pretty confident (no pun intended) that it’s THAT knowledge that will carry my children! Whether they ‘fit in’ or not, if they truly understand their divine potential, they will undoubtedly have the confidence they need to think outside the box. :)