From the day my son was born his bright smile and vibrant personality has captivated the attention of his family, teachers and peers alike. So when an upperclassman at his K-12 school took him under his wing and gave him the name Big Mike I was not surprised. They would stop him in the halls on the way to class and high five him. It made him feel special. For the next 3 years my son was Big Mike. He loved it and thrived on his new found popularity.
That was until the Spring of 2016 when we made a family decision that would rock his world. We decided to change schools and were all in agreement to it. It was considered one of the best christian private schools in the city. Our boys were excited about the sports and new opportunities that would be available to them. Little did we know about the effect that it would have on him or how it would impact him socially.
So after a fun filled summer with his friends and lots of goodbyes to his teachers, we prepared for a new year at a new school. On the first day of school my son walks into his classroom expecting to make lots of friends and carry on his legacy as Big Mike. He was maybe even a little cocky and expected things to just fall into place. However this was not the case his bright smile and vibrant personality did not cut it. This was a tough crowd. Needless to say his reputation nor title transferred with him. Instead he was given another title The New Kid. The new kid that had no friends and was considered a little weird.
Have you ever heard of the show From the Bottom Up. This is where he had to start, he had to earn his title. There were lots of Big Mike’s (popular kids) there. At first he questioned himself and began to wonder what was wrong with him. My heart ached for him. I even began to question myself, did I make the right decision? As I watched discouragement set in and the enemy try to depress my son, I began to pray. Oh the power of pray is all I can say. Prayer changes things and it’s working things are getting better. He still has good days and not so good days but I know God has his back. He’s the best friend that anyone can have.
“I told him instead of counting this as a loss, look at it as a new opportunity to reinvent yourself. You can be anything you want to be. Instead of walking in an image that was created for you create your own image and style. Yeah some will like it and some won’t. Who cares as long as you’re happy with who you are when you look in the mirror.”
In a perfect world it would be nice if other people could see us the way we see ourselves, through rose colored glasses. If that was the case then we would always be Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man or even Big Mike. We would never grow because we would always want to stay in our comfort zone. Unfortunately no matter how great we are or think we are the world shows no mercy. People draw their own conclusions and create their own images of who we are to them. These are the lessons I try to teach my sons. You are not who people say you are. Neither do you have to live up to their image of you, good or bad. Always allow room for growth and change. Never give anyone that much power. The titles we hold on earth are just temporary and are subject to change at any moment. When you allow people to validate who you are by giving you a title you also give them the power to strip it away at whim.
“So to my son Michael get out of your comfort zone, remove the rose colored glasses and take your power back. You may never be Big Mike again but you are still special. Draw close to God, find your true purpose in him and you will find your identity”
I am reminded that when God gave Jacob a purpose he changed his name.
“He said to him you will no longer be called Jacob but Israel.”
We can rejoice in knowing that when God changes your name no one can take it away.
God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel. Genesis 35:10 NIV
Until next time…Live, Love, Laugh