My mother taught me that I was perfect. I believed her until I was 30 years old. It’s called being a slow learner. But God is patient. When I was 15 I wrote a letter of complaint to God. This letter was caught in the paper on the back of a mirror at my parents house. It was hidden there for over 40 years. I found it after I received the mirror from my parent's estate. In the letter I said that I couldn’t control myself. If someone said something mean to me and hurt my feelings I would say something mean to them. I was disappointed in myself but didn’t know what to call it. I was beginning to understand what sin was.
At the tender age of 30, because of difficult family members, I came to the end of myself and realized I couldn’t live according to my own judgments anymore. It was admitting that I wasn’t perfect after all, that I needed God to guide me, and this helped me to turn away from my sin and live fully for God.
Many children have been told “no” all of the time and have never heard that they did anything right. I admit that constant criticism would be harder to overcome than being told you are perfect all of the time. So there is a delicate balance between positive parenting while setting boundaries for children.
Now I know that I’m not perfect, that God loves me just the way I am, but He loves me so much that He will not leave me that way. This is the beginning of developing healthy self-esteem. Kids need exactly the same thing. The following video is a Saturday Night Live skit on self esteem.