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Stop the Labels


As is a typical Sunday morning in children’s ministry, I stood in line awaiting to check-in my child to her Sunday school classroom. The family in front of me was new. And taking the typical “new family” longer time to check-in AND explain things to the leaders. No problem. We’re used to it and LOVE having new families at the church. But my ears perked up as I heard the parent repeat, multiple times, how nervous their child was. And, not surprisingly, it took a little prying out of mom’s arms and tears shed as the parents walked away…nervously. My heart ached as this was something my husband and I talked about early on. Stop the labels!

Of course, I was sad to see the attachment and separation struggles. Of course I hate seeing kids sad when mom and dad are temporarily leaving. But I truly wish that people would stop the labels. Parents, stop introducing your child with a particular tag line. You are only setting them up for fulfilling the labels, which in the above situation was a label for failure and sabotage. Other caring adults, show you care by accepting each child as he/she is also without the labels tied to him/her. Otherwise, the same fulfillment and failure are inevitable.

With four kids we inevitably have very different personalities that could easily be labelled or tagged as such. One of our kiddos, in particular, could easily be described as “shy”. In fact, she has been dubbed as such time and time again. And it honestly makes us crazy. As her parents, we know for a fact that she is not shy. Quite the opposite. Rather, she is honestly and fully in control of situations. She chooses to talk when needed. She is an observer and responder. And on the flip side, amongst her siblings and comfortable situations she oftentimes rules the roost. So “shy” truly is not a fitting label. It is not that we take it as a “bad” label and are trying to avoid those. It is that we are trying to let our child navigate life as she is, without labels or tags. What labels or tags do you need to remove from your child? How do you return to simply introducing your child by his/her name…period? Trust me, in the long run, they will thank you for it.

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