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
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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