My kids played in their annual Piano Guild auditions last week. Being their mother, I think they are brilliant when they just take a breath. Despite that, they both played quite well. Wild Man had a great day and received a "Superior" rating. Ga'Hoole Girl had a more difficult time, but still received an "Excellent" rating. We were so excited when we got their scores since they both got "Excellent" ratings last year.
I find a disturbing tendency within myself, though, to compare my kids to other kids. I rarely compare Wild Man to Ga'Hoole Girl because they are so different. But, I do find that I will subtly compare my kids to other people's kids. For example, when I hear another child play piano, I think deep down about whether or not my kids are better pianists. It can go even further. When kids get to misbehaving, I find myself thinking that their parents are the ones who are actually to blame. And well-behaved kids must have stellar parents.
This is all part of a deeper pathology in which I am responsible for every action, good and bad, that my child does. If my child is "successful", it is because I am a good Mom. If my child is not the best, it is because I am a bad Mom. Do you see where this is going? It isn't good, is it?
Scripture tells us that we are responsible to teach our children right from wrong, but we must remember that children will still make their own choices. The Bible also shows the children of Godly parents who make abysmal choices - David's son Absalom, Solomon's sons (take your pick). Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "train up a child in the way he should go" but also says that "when he is old he will not turn from it". There isn't any implication that great parenting automatically produces perfect children who will never disobey. Proverbs 23:13 and 29:15 also tell us the importance of providing discipline for a child. But, again, our children are not trained animals - they can and will make their own choices, especially as they grow older.
[On a practical note, God places people in the families where he wants them. I have absolutely no right to judge a parent who has a child who is more curious or active than my kids. I have been blessed with generally compliant children, but I know families that have one or more kids that are just "high-maintenance" from the time they come out of the womb. Those parents need extra encouragement from those of us with easier kids, not condemnation. I also don't read that Scripture gives us "one" way to raise kids. It is clear that we are to provide discipline and training, but that can (and probably should) look different in each family. I have great suspicion for those people and books that claim that "if you do X, your children will do Y". There's no support in Scripture or in my experience.]
What does this have to do with me as a parent? Plenty. I cannot base my self-worth on my children. I am responsible to obey God. My children's future is determined by God, not by me. In the final analysis, this comes back to a reminder that I can't compare myself to other people to see if I measure up, either. I can't try to decide if I'm a "good enough" Mom based on how my kids behave or how clean my house is or whether my kids read early enough, etc. My worth is found in Christ alone (see previous post!!). Eph 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 2 Tim 1:9-11 who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. God loved me enough for Jesus to die for me. That is what is important. And, as a Mom, I want to teach my kids to lean on this truth and not on the "stuff" they do. God loves me. That is enough. That will get me through any struggle I have and will get my kids through their lives.