Do you like the way you look? It’s easy to have a harsh view of our own body. Many kids also struggle with their body image. As they grow and their bodies change, they can become uncomfortable with themselves. Add to that the views of peers and media, and once happy, carefree kids may become self-conscious and insecure. Your words can feed into their insecurities, or they can encourage a healthy self-image. Here are three truths you can teach kids to help them have a godly body image.
First, God lovingly created you in His image. Each person is unique and specially made. We don’t all look or act alike. Having differences is good. Do the kids in your life see themselves as unique and special or do they struggle because they would rather look the same as others? Genesis 1:27 says “God created man and woman in His image. We know this doesn’t mean God has two arms and legs because the Bible tells us God is a spirit. Talk with kids about what it means to be made in God’s image. Ask them to list the ways people are different from the rest of creation.
Only people are made to have a relationship with God. We have thoughts, desires, and a will. We appreciate beauty, compose music and have higher language skills than animals. We can make decisions based on ethics instead of just what makes our body feel good. I used to tell my kids that they are each a genius and the genius is in a different part of their brain than the next person. God has a purpose for each person. The point is, there is so much more to you than your body!
Help kids see that God loves them, no matter how they look. God is more powerful than any disease or disability or the hurtful thoughts and feelings kids have about the way they look. As you talk with kids, keep in mind that there may be other issues going on. Sometimes kids react to problems at home or at school by hating themselves. Unfortunately, some abused kids start hating their bodies due to trauma. Try to discover what is really going on when a kid has self-loathing.
The second truth to teach kids is that God looks on the heart, not the body. This means God looks at our character and our desire to please Him. 1 Samuel 16:7, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” One day I saw in the line ahead of me a beautiful young lady—until she opened her mouth. Her words were so harsh she no longer seemed beautiful to me. Outward beauty truly is only skin deep. Obsession with the physical can distract us from what’s truly important—what a person is like.
Exercise, good hygiene, and healthy eating habits are important because God gave us a body to house our spirit so we need to take care of it. But bodies can be scarred from accidents, diseases, disabilities, and changes from growing older. Teach kids to look beyond the physical and care about the person. And remind them that healthy habits become unhealthy when we do them so others think we look good. A fun activity you can do is put messages on mirrors using a dry erase marker. Statements like: “God made you special!” or, “What you see here is not what’s important.” or, “God looks at the heart.”
Third, help kids view beauty by God’s standards. The phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” reminds us that people have different views on beauty. Even cultural standards of beauty continually change. You can have fun with kids looking at fashion pictures from various past decades and ask them what they think about it now. Remind kids that God’s standards never change. He loves people like crazy no matter what they look like. Encourage kids to love others the way God loves them. Take turns listing ways you find others beautiful that don’t include what they look like.
Encourage kids by reading and discussing this truth from Psalm 139. Verses 13 and 14 say this about God, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Only a few kids can be the best athlete at school, be a beauty queen, or be an accomplished musician. But God wonderfully made each person to accomplish His purpose for their life. At every opportunity, tell a child, “I’m pleased with you, and I know God is pleased with you too!” Try to not connect that statement to their looks or anything they have done. God takes pleasure in people, his creation, just because they (you) exist and He made them (you) wonderfully!
Stay Connected with CEF
Subscribe to our email lists to receive updates, news, and stories based on your needs and interests.