Old Enough! is a Japanese show that follows three and four year olds as they attempt to complete errands by themselves. One of the most interesting things about this age group is that they talk to themselves out loud the entire time. Every thought is verbalized! It is fascinating to listen as they say things their parents have obviously said to them numerous times as they attempt to encourage themselves to overcome any obstacles they encounter.
Unfortunately, not every child grows up in environments where people give them helpful self talk ideas. The more exposure children get to the outside world, the more likely they are to hear negative things that are added to their self talk repertoire. Overly positive things can become hurtful self talk too – if they lead to attitudes like selfishness (“I deserve everything I want”) or pride (“I am perfect just the way I am”).
The best self talk reflects godly principles. It encourages self esteem that is neither too high nor too low. It discourages sinful choices and promotes godly attitudes and behaviors. In fact, some of the most helpful self talk involves repeating appropriate Bible verses in one’s mind to remind oneself of what God wants done in a particular situation.
Take the time with Bible students to discuss the thoughts they have about themselves. What thoughts do other people try to convince us we should think about ourselves – both critical or “affirmations”? Which are godly? Which would make God sad? What scriptures give us ideas of things God wants us to say to ourselves? How can we replace unhelpful self talk with these helpful ones?
Working with young Bible students on self talk can make them less vulnerable to Satan’s temptations. It’s worth taking class time to work on godly self talk.