Last year around this time, I wrote a blog to the mom whose kid did not make the honor society. Apparently, it struck a chord because it made the rounds for quite some time.
So, this year, as we approach the end-of-the-year “award season” for our kids, I thought it was only appropriate to now address those of us whose kids did, in fact, make the honor society (or earned any other relevant accolade).
As I began to pray and write this article, it struck me that the message is quite similar no matter which side of the spectrum you fall. Funny how God’s Word is true and instructive whether you find yourself on the upside or downside of the accolades and successes our culture values.
Why? Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about him and not us.
So, with that in mind, here are a few thoughts before you grab your camera and head out to an upcoming award ceremony.
For whose glory is it?
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1 ESV).
I’m grateful that the Lord has created so many of our kids with really great smarts, talents, and abilities. I’m so thankful they excel and receive recognition for their hard work and great accomplishments in academics, or sports, or band, or whatever they call their “thing.”
That said, it’s all too easy to forget that the glory behind the accomplishment belongs to the Lord.
Be proud of their accomplishment? Absolutely.
Feel some sense of credit for any of it? Nope, no can do.
We have an audience of one. And it’s for his great glory and honor that we exist. So, as our children receive earthly praise, let’s make sure they understand who deserves the credit.
Everyone benefits when we humbly understand our role (or lack thereof) in the process because it results in a heart of humility and grace for those around us who may not share in the same recognition.
In a world promoting ten-page college resumes and parents doing whatever it takes to get their kids into the “right” colleges (cue the college scandal discussion), let’s live differently.
Net it out? Use this time of year to make much about Jesus and far less about your kids.
Practically speaking? Let’s resist the urge to post our award-laden children on social media until we take time to amply thank their Creator for the great work he has done. To him we give all the glory and honor.
Just because it’s measurable doesn’t make it worthier
I’ve said it before and will say it again. Just because an accomplishment isn’t easily measurable doesn’t make it less worthy. Said inversely, just because it is measurable doesn’t make it worthier.
Absolutely, let’s celebrate our kids when they get a public award or acknowledgment. But, along with that, let’s raise the roof when our kids leave their “group” on the bus and sit by the left-out kid on the field trip. Or when they opt out of the group text that has negatively targeted someone.
What about when our kids ditch the FOMO (fear of missing out) to go on the youth trip, meanwhile missing the big party?
Here’s a parenting truth: When it comes to raising kids in the Lord, the heavenly triumphs rarely earn a trophy, and most praiseworthy moments won’t produce a picture. Why?
Because the great things of God do not often generate earthly praise. (Let’s call that a huge understatement on the heels of celebrating Easter and reflecting on Jesus’ life on earth).
So, when the things of this world do build up our kids—that’s great! But hold it loosely, and let’s remind our kids what it really looks like to be in this world but not of it. A good start is to avoid giving rightful accolades a wrongful place in our hearts.
The Lord shows favor to those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9). He has a plan for each of us that was ordained before we were born (Ephesians 2:10). Yahoo when the things of the Lord line up with the things this life celebrates, and let’s celebrate by giving him the glory.
But, when it inevitably doesn’t work out that way, it’s not an unexpected disappointment if we are rightly focused on the rewards of eternity and not the honors of this earth.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV).
Two of the most powerful words you will find repeatedly used in the Bible are but God. Places where our human efforts would have fallen short and all would have been lost—but God.
Who knows for sure, but it’s probably safe to assume that Moses didn’t receive the debate team award with his speech impediment. Rahab wasn’t likely inducted into the honor council with her occupational stigma. And Elijah and Jeremiah probably would not have been voted class favorite with their sometimes depressed demeanor.
But God graciously uses flawed people like all of us (and our kids) to do great things for his kingdom.
Take time to remind your kids of these two critical words that can’t help but change how we view our earthly successes: “Awesome work, and I’m proud of your accomplishments, sweet kids—but God.”