“I’m shiny with bright scales, now give me a try. I swim up the river and jump toward the sky. Who am I? I’m a . . . SALMON!”
It’s one of my boys’ favorite pop-up books. Each page offers a short, rhyming riddle where they have to guess, “Who am I?” with each answer being a different Alaskan animal.
But as my 9- and 11-year olds have outgrown pop-up books, the question becomes less of a game and more of a critical puzzle in life. “Who am I?” is something they ask more and more.
“Who am I? Am I a cool kid? The smart kid? The boy that girls will like? Am I an athlete? A musician? Am I . . . a loser? A dork? A kid that nobody likes? Am I really loved . . . by Mom and Dad? By God? Do I meet their expectations? Am I really forgiven?”
They don’t often voice these questions, especially since boys don’t usually talk about such deep subjects. But I know that they’re asking these questions because every kid does.
“How do we prepare our kids to be in the world and not of the world?” That’s a question every parent ought to consider. And I believe that our kids will be ready when they can answer the question, “Who am I?” with the right response: “I am a forgiven child of God who lives to show my thanks to him in all that I say and do.”
We all have the privilege of finding our identity in Christ. Instead of wondering, “Who am I?” we can trust in God’s answer: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9,10).
“Who am I? I am chosen by God. I belong to him. I’m special to him. He calls me holy. He gives me purpose. He defines who I am. I am a Christian. I am a little Christ. And though I may be considered a weirdo or a dork by others for following him, I don’t care. I care what other people think about me because I want to serve them. But I care far more about what God thinks of me. He is the God who loves me, who saved me, and that’s why I want to live my life for him.”
How do we prepare kids to be in the world, but not of the world? We keep telling them and ourselves where we find our true identity: in Christ.