The incarnation fully reveals the dignity of the human person and raises it to a new level.
Many years ago, as a classroom teacher, I felt an inner urgency to impress upon the minds and hearts of my students the truth of their human dignity. At the time, the external messaging to the students was television and print materials. Today, with the explosion of the internet, the messaging we have to counter runs 24/7. Regardless, as educators and parents who have the opportunity to build relationships, the urgency for the message of truth has not waned.
In Matthew 18:6, Jesus teaches us that we have an incredible responsibility to instruct children. They learn their dignity as a human person from how we treat them, see them, protect them, and guide them. If we profess to be disciples of Christ, our words and actions show them His love (Matthew 25).
Children primarily know and experience their dignity and worth from us. One way to teach them about their dignity is to reinforce this truth at every opportunity. For example, on every test (no matter the subject), I would give them the same question—what is the source of your dignity and worth as a human person? The answer had to include one of the truths about the dignity of the human person (I am created in the image and likeness of God who first loved me; God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ). I loved reading their responses (and it was the one question they could get right). I don’t know if this consistent question enabled this truth to be imprinted on their mind and heart, but at least they paused, took time to reflect, and hopefully knew they were wonderfully made (Psalm 139). I encourage you to find a quiet time each day to reflect upon this question, as you can never be wrong in acknowledging that you, too, are wonderfully made.
Spot the Virtue
Modesty is a beautiful virtue and, when properly cultivated, can lead to strength of character whereby the person’s true dignity shines forth. The modest person does not seek to be the center of attention or boast about their accomplishments. Instead, they act and dress in a way that does not draw attention to themselves. This inner confidence leads to self-possession and strength of character.
Name: Mallory, even though you got an A on your test, I noticed you weren’t showing your grade to your classmates.
Explain: Your modesty shines forth, and you don’t need to be boastful.
Express: You may not realize it, but I see your goodness and modest actions. It is a witness to me and others.
Spot this virtue in at least one person this week.
Pray Psalm 139:13-14.
You formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, because I am wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works! My very self you know.