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.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx