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Peeling off labels

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There are so many labels put on children today that can be hurtful and, if allowed, can even limit how children grow. I’m thinking of labels such as  “inattentive,” “overactive,” or “impulsive” (or maybe a combination of these). 

I’ve learned through Christian Science that we don’t have to accept these labels—for children or for anyone. The first chapter of Genesis says, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (verse 31). The only label we actually have to accept about ourselves or others is that God made us good—excellent, sound, reliable, well-behaved, healthy, and skillful.

The first chapter of Genesis also says, “God created man in his own image” (verse 27). An image is a reflection or representation of what makes up the source. Since every one of us is made in God’s image, we must reflect all that makes up God. Reflecting God’s image and likeness means that each of us has access to infinite wisdom, ever-present clarity, uninterrupted focus, and clear direction. God is not unfocused, inattentive, overactive, or impulsive, so, as God’s reflection, we can’t be, either.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, wrote: “Let us banish sickness as an outlaw, and abide by the rule of perpetual harmony,—God’s law. It is man’s moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 381). Labels that suggest that God’s children are inattentive, overactive, or impulsive also suggest that they are not completely reflecting God. We have the right to banish the diagnosis, a right based on the rule that God is perpetually harmonious. As His reflection, we reflect perpetual harmony. Negative labels are an “unjust sentence,” one that God never gave.

Science and Health also states, “Love [God] inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way” (p. 454). No matter what task we need to do, we can know that God is inspiring us to do well—to stay focused and finish our work. God is illuminating the solutions and the steps we need to solve any problem we confront. God shows each of us how to achieve our goals, and His guidance enables us to stay attentive and on task. I’ve seen the benefits of this kind of prayer while proctoring school tests for children, as well as in other situations.

The Psalmist says in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters” (verses 1, 2). As we think about each of us as God’s child, we can know that God is leading us beside the calm, still waters, and we will be able to remain focused and attentive. We can know that our Father-Mother God is giving us all that we need, and there is nothing we can lack, including direction and focus. 

A little prayer in Isaiah 26 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you . . . . Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us” (verses 3 and 12, New King James Version). Putting God first in our thoughts and lives will help us see that His love enables everyone to find perfect peace. God is shepherding each one of us throughout our day, showing us how to maneuver through the steep hills and challenges that confront us, and keeping us calm and focused on reflecting only Him.

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