Regardless of how old I grow, I will never forget the struggles of growing up and finding, or accepting, ones own identity. In addition, my son Eric works with youth and so when ever I read I am reminded of the struggle of youth. I ran across the following quote and wish each child could truly appreciate how unique and valuable they are. Adults too.
"In self-culture, by distinctly recognizing his own individual powers, as originally and specifically belonging to his mind, a man is less likely to waste his strength in cultivating those faculties which are dormant or feeble. He is taught also to be contented with the mental place assigned him among his fellows, and not to attempt to imitate those from which he differs essentially by natural constitutions. He thus avoids self-contradiction - the source of all false pretense and putting on artificial airs.
By reflecting on the harmony and beauty which spring in all nature from variety, he sees that his individuality is but a part of a wide and consummate plan.
A wood in which the gnarled oak, the delicate larch, the graceful birch, the wide-spreading beech, the old thorn, even the rough briar, and the fern in the foreground, are all varieties essential to the general effect of beauty or grandeur in the landscape; teaching him a lesson of content with the condition assigned to him here, by that Power which formed his soul as well as the trees he is gazing upon, and appointed him his place, as it has theirs, in this great whole.
To fill that place well, however humble it may be, he feels is his duty , the sole purpose for which he was placed here. He has no sure instincts to guide him to this end. He must accomplish this by labor in the right direction." --"Evening thoughts," by a Physician