Welcome the first experiment with our book study feature!  We are just starting  Sticky Faith by Kara Powell & Chap Clark, so if you are just in time to join us from the beginning.  Be sure to share with your friends if you find this useful!

“Who the heck am I?  I’m everything to everybody, and nobody to me.” – anonymous teenager

Personal identity is the core question being asked by all all adolescents regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic considerations.  MRI” neurostudies” conclude that it takes 10 years from age 15-25 for the brain to fully develop, including early adolescence (10-14) through late adolescence (14-20) (p.52).  “Additionally, in terms of identity and adult dependence, today’s 23 year-old is often the developmental equivalent of a 17 year-old in 1980” (p. 53).

Henri Nouwen suggests people often define their identity 3 things: 1) I am what I do, 2) I am what I control, and 3) I am what others say about me (p. 56-57).  Even though these measurements are common, we all yearn to be known beyond our performance as beloved children known by the Father as illustrated in Psalm 139.

Ways to Develop Identity in Your Children

  • Remember your child is God’s beloved creation.
  • Create a network of caring believers who will pray for, mentor, and bless your children with their presence over the course of their lives.
  • Develop rituals that provide the comfort of history, regularity, and tradition (p. 60 has great suggestions).
  • Allow your children to experience hardship (Romans 5:3-4).
  • Use extracurricular activities to explore identity and develop character rather than developing skills.
  • Affirm character growth more than academic achievement.
  • Model and share your daily relationship with the Father

Questions

  • Which of Nouwen’s 3 answers to the question “Who am I?”, which are you most prone to rely on?  Which does your child rely on?  What does that look like?
  • Of the ways listed to develop identity in your children, share which you are pursuing and how you are pursuing them?  Of the ones you aren’t pursuing, what holds you back?