The lessons we learn as children and the words that are spoken, especially by our parents, have a powerful impact on how we see ourselves.
This is something Dana experienced in her own life.
Though not intentionally malicious with their words, her parents made it clear that when she got into trouble, it wasn’t a reflection of what she did, but rather a reflection of who she was. It would be years later, through counselling and therapy, that she would begin to unpack this idea of shame and how it had been such a burden to her mental health for so many years.
Recently, while listening to a Focus on the Family Broadcast, she heard Dr. Tony Evans warn parents not to shame their children, and she immediately wrote to us:
“I thought, ‘Thank you! Thank you so much!’ Because there’s so many kids out there that are experiencing this and don’t know what it is. And of course there’s parents who are doing their best, [but] don’t understand the harm that it brings.”
The idea of separating guilt and shame that Dr. Tony Evans discusses in the broadcast “Raising Kids with a Kingdom Perspective” is such an important topic.
“Parents, and kids,” Dana explains, “are all just doing the best we can with what we know. Which is why the shame and guilt conversation is so important. It needs to be introduced into families. And that is why I am so grateful that Focus on the Family is starting that conversation . . . we are all in need of this knowledge about mental illness.”
When shame takes root in a person’s life it quickly affects the mental health of that person, impacting their self-image and self-worth. Like Dana, a lot of Christians are struggling with anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, and sadly many of them feel like there isn’t a safe place to talk about it.
The Focus on the Family Broadcast has been a source of help for Dana. “It was my safe place and it still is a safe place for me. Night time for a while now has been difficult, dealing with depression and anxiety,” she admits. “The broadcast is something I can count on, something that can take me out of that darkness for a little while. It helps God come closer into my life so I can actually see him in the midst of all that.”
“That’s another reason I am grateful for Focus on the Family,” she explains. “My hope is that every listener took something away from Dr. Evans’ episode – maybe home to their families, their small group, their church and congregation – and have made a place and a space to start that conversation.”
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