There’s Only One You

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

One of my recent tweeps is @AngelaMaiers. Her Twitter bio says “I believe these 2 words can change the world#You Matter.” Reading this brought to mind my favorite book to read to my daughter when she was a preschooler.

The name of this fantastic book was There’s Only One You. It’s point was to give children a feeling of identity and self-worth.

I haven’t seen or heard about this book in over 35 years now, and I don’t recall the author’s name, so I may never find it again. Google found a book titled Only One You by Linda Kranz, but it must not be the same book, because it lists a publication date in 2006. We had this book in the early 1970s, and I couldn’t find any listing for it.

You know how we all tell kids, “You look like your Aunt Fran” or “You could be your Uncle Fred’s double?” We’re always telling kids they look like so-and-so. This is a natural thing just about all of us do, but it may confuse a young child about his individuality.

This book made a big point of the fact that each child is a unique individual. As you read it to your child, you were telling her she was NOT like her aunt or uncle or mother or father or anyone else. She was an individual and the only one like her in the entire world.

I may be straining at a point here, but a lot of kids grow up to be teenagers and ultimately adults without a real sense of who they are and how uniquely they were made. I think at least some part of this may arise because of how we keep telling them as children how much like some relative they are.

I may resemble my grandfather or have the same need for relationships my mother always had or talk like another relative—but I’m not really like any of them. I’m just me. An individual distinct from every other individual on the planet.

I think my daughter understands these things about herself, and I think at least some part of the reason she does is that her mother and I used to read this book to her frequently. Like most children’s books, it was long of pictures and short on words, but the words it did include were powerful.

It’s important that we give our kids and grandkids a sense of belonging, a sense of family. To that extent, it’s fine to tell them they look like so-and-so or the walk like so-and-so. This may make them feel secure, especially if that relative is someone we can respect and lead our children to respect, but we must be careful to nurture in them a sense of their own unique worth.

God doesn’t make clones. Even identical twins are not really identical. Each has his or her own personality, character, mannerisms, and so forth. Let’s be sure our children understand that about themselves.

Have you ever heard of this book? If you have, I’d love to know where to get it.

Do you encourage your own kids with regard to their individuality? How do you do that? My readers and I would love to know.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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17 Responses to There’s Only One You

  1. Ann Walter says:

    I have the book that you are referring to. I would never part with it. It is the best boom for the self-esteem of anyone. I keep it in my china cabinet with all my other special treasures.

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  2. charitykountz says:

    Love this post David! I work very hard with both of my daughters (one is 5 & the other 11). You’ve met them both and they are adorable wonderful girls. They’re also as different as two little girls can be yet they’re similar in their sweetness and love for each other even if they are “step-sisters” (not something we emphasize in our house). I grew up with no real understanding of my own individuality and as an adult, I still struggle with the lack of confidence that gives me. I’m always quicker to recognize my weaknesses or perceived deficits (real or imagined) before anything else. I spent over 20 years trying to be just like everyone else, trying to fit in. For me, that’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, as the saying goes. It just doesn’t work. It never has, and probably never will yet I struggle to accept it. I understand it intellectually but there’s a part of me which consciously and unconsciously craves to be like everybody else. I don’t want to be individual – I want to be the same! I believe a combination of poor upbringing and being criticized for my differences, both large and small, are the cause for this and I’m determined to avoid that with my daughter. So to avoid getting too long winded on your blog, my dear friend, I think I’m going to do a blog post off yours if you don’t mind. 🙂 Maybe some of my recommendations will help other parents in this area. Love it as always my friend!

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  3. Beautifully said. It’s something I’ve passed on (hopefully to my children). We all come with a heritage and family traditions but each one of us is completely unique and here for a purpose only we can fulfill.

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  4. Karlene says:

    I checked out that book… wonderful. My daughter reads “On the Day you were born” to my grandson each night. Falls in alignment with you are special and unique theme.

    I’m not surprised that the same name of your old favorite book popped up. We can’t copyright names of books. Anyone can use them.

    How do we make our children feel special? Spend time with them. Sometimes we forget it’s the simplest things.

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  5. Barbara Estinson says:

    Right on post, Bro. And I’m smiling that Lynn remembers the colors. I agree that the message of “There’s Only One You” is so important …. that is why we named all our kids after no one in the family … each is unique. I do find myself seeing the resemblances in my grandkids and great grands to some of their parents … but I try to keep that to myself. Another children’s book that my kids loved and that I thought was great was “Where the Wild Things Are” … besides being quite an adventure, it gets across the point that even when you (as the child) are mad and/or being disciplined about something, you are still loved and cherished.

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  6. Lynn says:

    The book had interesting art work, too. I remember liking the colors. Is that weird?

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  7. Oy. So many errors. Still waiting for the new computer. So hard to edit on my iPhone. Please feel free to edit!

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  8. Since I have only one child, well… I think he knows he’s an individual. There is no one to compare him to. And, as I tell him all the time, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from him is that I can’t assume he’ll love golf (because his father dies) or tennis (because his father played in high school). I can’t even assume he’ll have a killer, competitive streak. *ahem* Like someone else who lives in this house who has more estrogen.

    No, I learned from my students first. They are all unique. They all learn different. For some, academics is a breeze; for others, a struggle. So by the time Monkey came around I was ready.

    And that’s why we have a fencer who loves technology. A kid who builds, is forever taking things apart and putting them back together. He’s never been a ball-boy and he never will be. He’s a scholar, a geek, a nerd. He was great friends and he has his head on straight.

    For now.

    We’ll see how that goes and adjust accordingly as we move through the teenage years.

    Great post, D!

    By the way, Fred Rogers wrote a book called YOU ARE SPECIAL that had similar themes to the book you were mentioning. Remember Mr. Rogers? Me too. 😉

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    • Yes, I remember Fred. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” As a man, I always thought he was a bit effiminant, but, as I father, I always loved his effect on my daughter. He always emphasized making kids feel good about themselves and their own self-worth. Thanks for reminding me of him, Renee.

      BTW, I can’t imagine who the estrogen-laden competitor in your household would be. lol

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