“You Can Be Anything You Want to Be” and Other Lies I Won’t Be Telling My Kids

I stood in the corridor of my daughter’s dance studio waiting for ballet class to finish. The walls were lined with posters of kittens and violins and satin toe shoes, each displaying some cutesy motivational quote.

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If you dream it, you can do it.

Nothing is impossible for you.

Now is your time to shine!

Do those words make you feel warm and fuzzy? Or, like me, do your raise your eyebrows?

I’m all for building my children’s confidence. But there’s a big difference between puffing up and pointing up. Here are four popular statements you won’t hear me saying to my kids.

1. You can be anything you want to be.
No, my precious girls, you will be exactly who God designed you to be—beautiful, unique, valued and loved. He gave you certain gifts and abilities, chosen just for you by a perfect and purposeful God, and if you spend your life discovering and using those gifts wisely then you will be successful in the deepest sense.

Still, always remember that what you do is not who you are. You are a child of God, period (John 1:12). Don’t compare yourself to anybody else, and don’t for a second believe God was sleeping on the job the day your talents were doled out. You are you for a reason.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

2. Believe in yourself.
Believe first in your God who created you and is capable of doing amazing things through you (Philippians 4:13). Yes, you are powerful, more powerful than you know, because Christ’s power is at work within you.

“He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you’” (Luke 17:6).

3. Follow your heart.
Don’t follow it; protect it. The heart is deceitful beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9), and it can get you into a lot of trouble if you don’t check it against the truth of God’s word. Study your Bible, surround yourself with true friends who will hold you accountable, and pray, pray, pray so that when your heart tells you one thing and God says another, you’ll know the difference and can choose wisely.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

4. You deserve to be happy.
Of course your mother wants you to be happy. But who in this world deserves it, when the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)? Praise the Lord, my darling girls, for grace. Understand that blessings aren’t your right; they’re a gift. And sometimes, although we might not see it at the time, our troubles can be a gift, too.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).

Our kids are going to hear a lot of well-intended garbage as they grow. Let home be the place where we cut through the hype and teach them to love themselves—why?—because God loves them first.

So next time I’m waiting outside the door for my daughter’s ballet class to end, I’m thinking I just might take a Sharpie to one of those posters.

Nothing is impossible for you WITH GOD!


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Becky Kopitzke
Becky Kopitzke is the author of The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood (Shiloh Run Press). On her devotional blog, www.beckykopitzke.com, she offers weekly encouragement