7000 Days

Trophies or Teachers?

7000Days is proud and honored to introduced Carla Willard as a guest blogger today. Carla is married to Scott, and they have four children: Eli, Emma, Ellie and Ethan.

When my kids were young, I read a devotion that has stayed with me over all these years.  The author wrote “Do you view our children as trophies or teachers? If we view our children as trophies, we will place their personalities and achievements atop our mantels, step back and take the credit for who and what our children become.  We will be inclined to pressure our children to perform in such a way that will increase their value as trophies – and we receive more praise. But if we view our children as teachers, we will submit ourselves to the lessons we will learn from God at their hands.” (Excerpt from Mom’s Devotional Bible, p. 534)

As parents it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing our kids and their achievements to others.  We can easily second guess our parenting skills if our child comes up short in these comparisons.  When they are little we judge if they are walking, talking and speaking as early as their peers.  At school age, we compare their grades, their athleticism and their musical talents.  As teens, we compare their attitudes, dispositions, ACT scores and scholarship awards.

The more we compare our children against others, the easier it is to lose sight of how God has uniquely created and gifted them.  Over the years, I’ve frequently caught myself falling into this trap.  Unfortunately, I typically don’t recognize what I’m doing at the point of the comparison.  It is often my reaction that brings about the awareness.  As feelings of frustration, embarrassment, jealousy or even anger emerge, it is often at that moment when the Lord reminds me to examine my motives.  When I’m concerned about how I look in a situation, I’m viewing my kids as trophies – as reflections of my efforts and effectiveness.  It is in those moments that I have to repent, step back and ask God to show me what He wants me to learn from the situation.  I have to seek His perspective.  I have to ask Him to grow me into the mother that each one of my kids needs me to be.  Over the years, that has become a recurring prayer for my life – I ask the Lord to grow me into the mother and wife that He’d have me to be so that each one of my children and my husband can become all that He has created them to be.  

If I view my children as teachers used by God to grow me in grace, patience, wisdom and creativity, it frees me from having to know all the answers.  It frees my children from unrealistic expectations of perfection.  It frees me to celebrate the uniqueness of each of my children – to recognize each one’s strengths and weaknesses.  It frees me to trust that the Lord has a plan for each of my kids – a plan to prosper them and not to harm them, a plan to give them a hope and a future.  And His plan far exceeds anything that I could conjure up.

So, what is your answer?  Are your children your trophies or your teachers?    

“I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

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Posted by Amy Dunbar at 9:15 AM
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