Wednesday, August 31, 2011

You are Good, You are Kind, You are Smart

It's a quote from the book (now movie), "The Help." The African American maid says it to a little white girl in her keep in Jackson, Mississippi. The words are precious. The reaction is, too. The child repeats the words in a sing-song, placing her chubby hands on her caretaker's face. "You are good. You are kind. You are smart." I've seen the movie twice now and am almost finished with the book. This morning, it occurred to me to ingrain the words into Neil, to help his self-esteem. He's 8 and was recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He struggles with social acceptance by his peers and occasionally is bullied. I thought that when I told him to repeat the words to me, he would react like the little girl in the movie. We sat in the shade of an ancient oak tree on the corner where we meet his school bus. "Neil," I said in the quiet of the morning, "I want you to repeat these words to me. Now look me in the eye." He put down the small toy with which he was playing in his lap and fixed his eyes on my face. "You are good." Neil immediately grabbed the top of his head with his arms and covered his ears. "Neil. Neil. You are kind." Neil ducked his head into his chest. "Neil, listen. Neil. You are smart." Neil shook his head violently and started to cry. "Neil, look at me. Look at me. Take your arms off of your head and look at me." It took me about 3 minutes to convince him to put his arms down and stare at me again. Tears covered his face. "Neil, don't you believe those three things?" He shook his head. "Has anyone told you differently?" He nodded. "Who?" He named children from school, one by one. "Neil, listen to me. They're lying. They are telling lies about you. You are not dumb. You are not stupid. You are not bad. You are not mean. You are good. You are kind. You are smart. You are good. You are kind. You are smart." He stared at me. He shook his head no again. "Do you know who also thinks you're good, kind and smart? God does. God loves you. You're his special boy. You are good. You are kind. You are smart. Don't believe people when they tell lies to you about you. Those are lies. Those are lies." As Neil got onto the school bus, my heart broke for my child. I had no idea that all of this time, he was hearing bad things about himself from others and was believing them -- actually believing them. It got me thinking ... how many of us believe lies about ourselves? How many of us don't fully pursue the love that God has to offer because we think we're not deserving of it? The truth is that we don't do anything to deserve God's love, but we are God's creation, God's children. And He created us to be good, to be kind, to have value -- to be loved. Why write this for the Christian Safehouse? Well, sometimes I think that we don't hear this enough, not nearly enough, actually. We believe lies from the Enemy of our souls. We internalize them. We don't seek out God as a result. We hide like Neil did, putting our hands over our heads and shaking our heads no, no, no, saying, "I'm not a person who has the capability of this calling, to become Christlike." The truth is that He makes us worthy. He makes us beautiful. He transforms us from the inside out, and He adores us. Can you hear Him? Do you hear Him telling you this? You are good. You are kind. You are smart. You are His. I intend on following the example in that book and telling Neil this every day until he believes it about himself. And now, I'm telling you, too.


  1. This brought tears to my eyes. Nobody should believe the lies that people tell them, but we do it all the time. So much, in fact that we could do it for a living. If only we could all remember that we are special and loved by God...

    Great post. You have a new subscriber.

  2. Beautiful post and so true. I struggle with this issue in my walk with Christ. For so many years before I began my walk I truly believed I was unworthy, now I'm learning. Thanks Heidi. By the way, I read The Help last year and added it to "My Favorite" list, it's a gem of a story for so many different reasons.

  3. I saw the movie last night. It made me cry at various times. One of those times was when Skeeter's nanny told her not to believe those bad things about herself that others said or implied. Including her mother. I wish I would have had someone like her early in my life. I still feel ugly always have because I was told I was.