The Trinidad Guardian / I remember sitting in a session with some athletes and the psychologist asked them to write down who they were. Most of the room associated their identity with being an athlete. I am an athlete, I am a wife, I am a father, I am an executive…

Our identities affect the way we see ourselves and our self-worth, which probably explains the need for validation through accomplishments and titles. It is also probably why many girls need to know they are the girlfriend or the wife or the something-a title gives us an identity.

Our identity is also rooted in our family-who’s your parent? What’s your last name? Are you related to anyone popular? Admit it, if you found out that through the grapevine you shared some blood with a public figure, it warms you up inside and anytime they come across the television screen there is a need to point out to people that you guys are related.

Now imagine the child who doesn’t have someone of worth with whom to be associated. Their identity is rooted in many unknowns. Unknown father, unknown legacy, unknown heritage. The human desire to be someone draws them to a gang-a place where they can be included, be given a purpose and most certainly be given an identity.

I dare say our gangs may not be our greatest threat, but rather something quite positive-our need to be somebody in this world. We need that extra certification to help validate us and we are willing to trade time at home for it. Being a mother and a father are no longer sufficient identities. God forbid that’s all you do… how weak. The challenge is, in the end many of us subconsciously place that role last in line because society has justified all the other roles and have placed higher honour on financial success. Our vision for our identities have been totally skewed and therefore our journeys are taking us to a place of increased dysfunction in the home.

No longer are our identities tied to the God we serve, to the people we serve, to the characteristics we thrive to have. Who cares about those things? A big house and a fancy car give us far more validation than a big heart. Who cares if my kid has manners, once they’re bringing home those awards so I can take a pic and show off on social media? Heck, no one can tell if they have manners or not through my Facebook profile, so why do we even need to work on that?

In fact, once our likes are many and our followers are growing, then who cares about anything else? After all, social media has now provided me with the perfect opportunity to create any identity I want.

I was once challenged to write my eulogy and I want to pass this challenge on to you. What would you want people to say about you at your funeral? If you’re brave, get someone from each area of your life to write one for you and give them permission to be as honest as possible. See how they match up. After the eulogy is written, ask yourself – Am I living the life that will lead to such a eulogy?


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