Charity bounced into the kitchen. “I’m starting a new fad,” she told me.
Her blue eyes sparkled. Two long blonde braids swung behind her, a stark contrast to her black Italian school smock. The standardized uniform covered mismatched pink pants and a striped-yellow shirt. The not-quite-hidden kaleidoscope of colors was her way of nose-thumbing against the rules. Or so I told myself. But really, she didn’t much care how she looked. She just wanted to be different. Distinct.
It took effort to stand out in a standardized sea of black robed children. But she did stand out. Charity was the only one that sported a Chiquita banana sticker on the middle of her forehead.
“Oh, I see,” I said, wondering why the sole American in the entire school, in the entire town for that matter, needed to make herself unique. It was hard to appreciate her excitement with that bright decal stuck smack-dab in the center of my vision.
“Everyone will want a Chiquita banana sticker like mine.” She touched it carefully to make sure it still stuck where she’d planted it. It was there all right, like a neon sign. I shook my head and let her run out the door hoping she didn’t get laughed at.
She came home after school with her Chiquita banana sticker still firmly in place. “Did anyone say anything about your sticker?” I asked.
“Sara might wear one tomorrow,” she said. Sara was her best friend and best bet at another sticker-brandisher.
The following afternoon I met her when she came in the house. The picture of a tiny banana clung on like a mosquito sucking blood. “Did Sara wear a Chiquita banana sticker today?” I asked, starting to wonder how long Charity could wear that yellow and white blotch.
“Nope.” Unfazed she grabbed a banana and peeled off the label. “But everyone wants one.”
Charity, wore that sticker the entire week, convinced her fashion statement would catch on.
Identity issues take center stage in our society, and they are much deeper than the picture of a yellow banana. There is a whole lot of whacky going on. Our children, caught up in the social mess, look for brand, uniqueness, and specialness. They want to stand out, yet want desperately to blend in. They want acceptance and significance.
I remember the day a scrub-clad doctor delivered my birth-stained daughter. I recall his steady hands as they held Charity up for me to see. Angry cries from a tiny red scrunched face filled the room. Startled arms like sticks spread wide. Then those competent gloved hands carried Charity into my waiting arms. We met, and she quieted.
“By You I have been sustained from my birth;” the Psalmist wrote, “You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You,” (Ps. 71:6; NASB).
I picture the doctors’ strong hands cradled in the hands of an Almighty God. Those hands that formed my daughter, delivered her. He carried her from womb to first breath. Charity’s Creator holds her even today in strong, trustworthy hands of love.
The impact of that picture is precious and profound. It brings worth into being.
Charity’s Chiquita banana sticker never caught on. I strongly suspect only the crazy American mother would allow her child out the door with it on. But the identity battle was far from over. The time-old questions of “Who am I?” and “Do I matter?” raised their heads for a long time even after the sticker was gone.
You are He who took me from my mother’s womb…
Nurturing children with Scripture builds value into their foundation because God’s unchanging love weaves through its pages. As our children learn to know their heavenly Father, He gently teaches them who they are. He continues to form and mold and grow them into His image.
Society will try to influence their perception of worth and value. Voices will shout ungodly claims. But God’s Word is an anchor of truth. The purposeful identity for which our children long is always found in the steadfast hands of their Father.
As our children learn to know their Heavenly Father, He gently teaches them who they are. @sylschroeder #parenthood #parentsTweet
(Adapted from Banana Stickers and Big Questions, Just18 Summers)
(Cover photo courtesy of Ben Weber on Unsplash)