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The first thing that no kid should leave home without is a sense of self-worth. Self-worth is something I've seen that gives young people a great advantage over others. Kids who have a tremendous sense of self-worth will go far in life.

The field of psychology has a lot of terms for this concept, including self-esteem, emotional intelligence, and self-image. All of these terms are used in reference to a person's sense of self-worth. They simply mean the way people feel about themselves. But a good sense of self-worth is based on more than just a feeling.

A low sense of self-worth can cause a lot of problems in life. As a parent, you are responsible to build your children's sense of self-worth and give them the confidence they need to succeed.

Success starts with a good sense of self-worth. Sometimes people associate their experiences or their possessions or their family tree with their worth. If they're proud of one of these things, they let it boost their confidence. But if they're ashamed of one of those things, they let it squash their sense of worth. People with a good sense of self-worth know they're valuable in spite of all these things. They base their value on something else.

An Example of Self-Worth
I've seen some extremely self-confident people come out of situations that would make others immensely depressed. For example, I remember a pastor I met who has a tremendous church that reaches thousands of people today. He was a big, burly guy and one day he told me, "Joe, I remember how I felt about myself when I was a kid. We lived in a shack, and when I say a shack I mean a shack! We had newspaper—not wallpaper—on the walls. We didn't even have electricity."

I was thinking, Boy, that must've been rough!

But he said, "You know, it never embarrassed me to invite buddies from my school to come home with me and spend the weekend. We'd go out fishing and hunting. We'd climb trees and swing from vines. I don't ever remember any boy not wanting to come back to my house. I had friends who loved it. I was never ashamed of where I was from. And since I wasn't ashamed, nobody else was either."

As a kid, this guy didn't have anything worth bragging about. His house was something most of us would be embarrassed to see. But self-confidence was something that was in him—not around him. And he's had that ever since. It was something his mom and dad put in him when he was a kid.

You Cannot Give What You Don't Possess
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
(Matt. 22:37-39)
Jesus said the first commandment is to love God. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. That's a commandment—not a suggestion. When we get to Heaven we'll all have to give an account for the way we lived our lives on this planet. God will ask us, "Did you spend your life loving your fellow man the way you loved yourself?"

Now the kicker to this thing is that each of us has to look in the mirror and ask, "Do I love me?" If I don't love myself, I can't love my neighbor. The second commandment, said in another way is, "Love yourself—and love your neighbor just as much." I can't love you any more than I love myself. A lot of people are trying really hard to love their neighbors without loving themselves. It doesn't work! If you can't love and accept who you are, then you can't love and accept anybody else.
...Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
(Eph. 5:28)
A husband can't love his wife any more than he loves himself. No one can give what they do not possess. A husband who loves himself can love his wife because he has love to give. If you love yourself, you can love your neighbor. You have to have love on the inside of you to give it to someone else.

Your sense of worth has to focus on who you are on the inside. It has to come from the value that God saw in you when He sent Jesus to save you. Why did He do that? It wasn't because He thought you were perfect. It was because He loved you just the way you were.

None of us is perfect, but that doesn't change how valuable we are to God. Things on the outside change. Some days are great, and some days are not so great. Paul wrote about that.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Phil. 4:12)
In other words, "I know how to be full, and I know how to be half starved. I know my boat's sunk, but it doesn't matter what life throws my way. If I'm down, I'm going to float back up to the top tomorrow. This is temporary. Circumstances change. Who I am is not based on my circumstances. It's based on what God says about me."

Source: Eight Things No Kid Should Leave Home Without by Joe McGee
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Joe McGee
Web site: Joe McGee Ministries
Joe McGee, author, national conference speaker, father, and former school administrator, is the founder and director of Joe McGee Ministries, Inc. and Faith For Families Ministries.

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