What we hear about ourselves, and what others tell us affects us. It helps shape us. Sianny read beautifully that well known poem ‘If a child lives with …’ (below) it’s a poem that is important to her and to how her and Kev bring up both Asa and Logan, and it an important message to hold onto for all you who are parents. But I don’t think the message is solely about what affects children, because it can apply to us all.
Through what we are told and the way people behave, we are either built up, or torn down, little by little.
How many messages do we hear every day, from the people around us, tv, radio, advertisements:
You’re too old, too fat, too tall, too young, too skinny, too short.
That you need to change the colour of your hair, the way you dress, the car you’re driving, your mobile phone.
To don’t do that, and don’t do this……..
Imagine how different life would be if we heard more positive messages, and affirmation of who we are.
God says in the writings from a chap, a prophet, called Isaiah
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you won’t drown. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, I’ll show you the way to go— Because I am God, I am YOUR God,
you are precious to me and I love you, And this is what God thinks of us, that he wants us, he’s there for us through thick and thin, and that he loves us.
When Jesus was baptised, God told him that he was special, that that he was pleased with him. And we believe that the same is true for Asa that he is special, and that God is well pleased with him.
And there are so many bits of the bible that tell us over and over again of how fabulous God thinks we are, and how much he loves us.
We’ve all made promises this morning, we’ve all promised at this service that we will be part of the process of reminding Asa of how important, and loved he is, despite all the other messages the world will throw at him throughout his life.
Jesus was told that he was loved by God before he’d even done anything. He’d not preached a sermon, or healed anyone yet, he’d not even turned water into wine! But still God loved him.
This has been called the ‘first love’,
It’s the love that is not depended on anything we do, or who we are, it’s the love we don’t have to earn.
It’s the love God has for us.
It’s the love that Sian, Kev and Logan has for Asa.
Asa has not done anything to gain this love, they love him just because he is Asa.
And likewise, this first love is how Asa loves Sian, Kev and Logan, not because of anything they’ve done, although I’m sure they’ve done plenty between changing nappies, dealing with baby sick and the occasional crying session, but he loves them just because they are who they are.
It is my prayer that as Asa grows, you will remember your first love for him, and as he grows, and makes mistakes and learns about the world you all will remember the promises you’ve made today so that with your tolerance, encouragement, praise, acceptance, approval, recognition, honesty, fairness, security and friendliness, he will grow up to be patient, confident, appreciating, loving, liking himself, having goals, knowing truth and justice, trusting and knowing what a nice place the world is to live in.
Knowing how important he is, not just to us, but also to God who will be there for him, from his first steps, till his last.
The messages we hear about ourselves are important, they help shape the view we have of ourselves and of the world. Remember this, not just for today, and not just for Asa, but remember that you are important and what you say and do matters
“If a child lives with………” Dorothy Law Nolte
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to trust in himself and others .
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live