Monthly Archives: November 2009

Not Raising Successful Children

Today, you need to read this encouragement from Lysa Terkeurst.  It’s good stuff.

You see, I can get caught up in a very prideful way of parenting.  I want my children to do well — to make good grades, to score points on the basketball court, to shine in the school musical programs.  Often, though, my desire for them to do well is more about my pride and my ego than about wanting what is best for my children.  And I have to purposefully fight against this.  If I am not intentional about NOT parenting this way, those selfish, prideful motivators creep in.

It’s easy to get sucked into the world’s definition of success.  A successful student makes A’s and creates beautiful school projects.  A successful kid plays sports or stars in a play or plays first-chair in the band or performs beautifully in a dance recital.  And if we have a child who makes the honor roll or who is the star of the soccer team or who catches on quickly to playing the piano, we can quickly get caught up in chasing those things, rather than chasing God and allowing Him to use those talents to glorify Himself.

I have a son who will probably not graduate with honors.  He will always have to work three or four times as hard in school as others.  And sometimes, he’ll still only do half as well.  Reading is hard work for him; spelling is even harder work.  And though he has the most unbelievable imagination, he struggles to get his ideas onto paper because choosing the words and spelling them are huge hurdles.  He has an engineering brain, but he often gets tripped up on math because reading and following directions are a challenge to him.  Though I’ve seen huge improvements in the past few months, I know that he will probably always be an average student.

This same son played basketball last year, and he was not the star player on the team.  He had fun; he played hard; he did his best; but he was often just a kid on the court.  He wasn’t the player everyone noticed.  He scored a few baskets, but he certainly didn’t win the game for his team.  He is an average basketball player.

When he has participated in school musical programs, he struggles to remember the words to the songs.  He’s often the kid fidgeting with his arms, rocking on his feet, mumbling sounds during the verses and then belting out the chorus.  Let’s just put it this way — nobody ever asked him to sing a solo.

My son’s strengths are not the sort of strengths that get an 8-year-old noticed at school or on the sports’ field or on the stage.  In the world’s eyes, he’s just an average kid.

But I know that God has given him all sorts of strengths and gifts and talents, and I know God has big plans for this little boy.  My son has helped teach me that, like Lysa Terkeurst, my job isn’t to raise a successful child.  My job is to raise a man of God.

And so I look for his talents and point them out.  I notice the strength of his character and nurture that and build it.  I encourage him to chase God, to pursue God’s purpose and plan for his life.

Well, I don’t always do a perfect job.  I mess up plenty.  I get discouraged when other people don’t see how great my son is, when they think he’s just an average kid.  I sometimes forget that recognition from people isn’t really important.  I struggle to remember that it really isn’t about me or how I look.

But at the core of my being I know that my goal is raise a man who pursues God.  My goal is to raise a man who seeks to discover and use His strengths to serve God.  My goal is to raise a man who has a heart that loves God and hands that serve Him all the days of his life — whether that includes school honors or basketball trophies or not is completely irrelevant.

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Random Thoughts

I probably should apologize in advance for this blog post.  It is a frightening glimpse into the randomness of my brain.

Really, nobody should be forced to spend a few moments inside my head.  So if you want to just skip today’s post and come back when I actually write something cohesive and thoughtful and pulled-together, I understand.

Of course, I don’t actually remember my last long period of cohesive thought and I barely remember the last uninterrupted, complete conversation I had; so if your’e waiting on cohesive and pulled-together, you might try one of those blogs from my blog-roll.

Ok, now for my random thoughts —

IMG_4905Isn’t this the cutest 4-year-old?  Some days I just want to eat him up!

 

IMG_5029Have I ever mentioned that I have an identical twin?  She’s just almost 27 years younger than I.  Seriously, this kid doesn’t have any of her dad’s DNA.  We just cloned me.

 

IMG_5082This is my kid on Halloween.  He dressed up like Tony Hawk.  Right after this picture, he kept messing with the skateboard and slipped and did a face-plant right on that porch.  The bridge of his nose still hasn’t healed.

It reminds me of when he was 2 and 3.  He liked to climb and fall.  He would climb onto the back of the couch and free-fall, face-first, with his hands to his side.  At the last possible moment, he would reach out his arms and catch himself.  Except, of course, for the times he forgot to stretch out his arms.  Then he would just fall onto his face.  In nearly every picture we have of him as a toddler, his face is all covered in rug-burn and scabs.

What amazed me about all that — the pain of falling on his face and bleeding never deterred him from climbing back onto the couch (or rail of the baby crib) and falling again.  To him, the rush of adrenaline from climbing and falling was worth the pain.  And that’s how he rolls.  He is a daredevil, a risk-taker.

After that photo, when he face-planted on the porch, he jumped up, sucked it up, and said, “I’m OK.”  Not a tear, not a complaint.  His sisters and I were oohing and aahing over him; his brothers were telling him how cool it looked and how he looked “even more like a real skateboarder now;” and he just grinned at them.  That tiny thrilling moment on the skateboard was worth the pain and scabs (which will undoubtedly look very nice in our family Thanksgiving photo).  It’s really enough to make this mother need a Xanax.  Seriously, I think Xanax was created for mothers of sons like this.

IMG_5081

Next random thought — my living room looks like a Goodwill truck crashed through our window and exploded its contents all over the place.  Nevermind that the Goodwill truck would have to be flying through the air to crash through our third-floor window, not all analogies are perfect.

photo-11

Piles of clothes are everywhere!

photo-10Really, it’s a mess in here!  My husband would like his recliner back.

photo-9Why am I showing you embarrassing photos of my messy living room?  Well, I want you to feel better about your housekeeping skills.  Hey, I’m here for you like that.

And since I’m surrounded by these piles of clothes, that’s what’s on my mind today.  I have to finish sorting these clothes and packing for our trip to WV and SC.  I pulled out all the long pants and long-sleeved shirts that I’ve had boxed up for a while.  Then there’s the challenge of seeing what fits whom.  It’s quite ridiculous that we have this many clothes.  I could clothe a small village of children with all this stuff!

And so, I’ve been sorting and stacking and filling bags to donate.  My 4-year-old (the cute one with the crown) does not need 7 sweatshirts.  We live in Florida, for Pete’s sake!  He also does not need 6 flannel shirts.  What was I thinking?

So I’m purging.

But first, I have to finish sorting and stacking.  And then I have to get over the sappiness I feel about some of these articles of clothing.  That size 3 rugby shirt I just put in the give-away bag — I have pictures of each of my 4 boys wearing that shirt.  Awwwww.  Was that big skate-boarding 8-year-old really that small?  Yes, and it felt like *sniff, sniff* yesterday.

Clearly I spend too much time trapped in this apartment with piles of clothes.  I’m getting far too emotional about laundry.

Ok, I am going to think of something else now.  I’m taking my mind off the Goodwill explosion in my living room.

This was the sunset last night.

sunsetIsn’t it beautiful?  This is the lake beside our building.  The sunset was gorgeous.  And it’s like that every night, only far prettier some nights.  And I get to live here.  And look at it every night.  Lucky me.

Now, Lucky Me gets to sort and stack and count and pack shirts.  Enough of my random thoughts for today.

How about you?  What randomness is going on in your brains?

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