But I am a bit taken aback at the pressure for excellence I see some people put on their children. I was swimming at the Y in Milwaukee this week, and I saw a man and his two sons. The boys were 4 and 6, maybe. They were both good swimmers, but the father (I'm assuming here, but they were physically similar.) was walking along the pool's edge, pushing them to improve their strokes, speed, and endurance. Now, there is nothing wrong with parents helping their children to succeed, especially if the area of endeavor is inherently interesting to the child(ren)... BUT, it made me think about the importance of those things we push on our children... and maybe ourselves.
I am good at glass work. There are times I struggle with pride in my work; I want it to all be for the glory of God, but sometimes I get in the way. Even more important, though, is what I pressure our five-year-old to excel at... What do I want HER to strive for?
If I had made a list a week ago, it might have looked like this:
*Understand her own emotions and express them appropriately
*Be a good reader
*Understand math well
*Develop her natural ability in music and art
We work on all of these, continually. She is making progress in every area, but we still see needs and push her sometimes in these things. We also provide her with opportunities to develop skills she's interested in, but aren't natural abilities, like ballet and gymnastics. I push her to work hard and learn in these, too. Success, right? That's what parents are supposed to be doing, right?
But when I look at this list today, I want to scream at myself: WHERE IS GOD? Where is what JESUS said is most important: Love God and Love Others!?
Now, I don't want you to get the idea that we don't teach our five-year-old about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We do. We read the Bible every day with her. We pray multiple times per day. She attends church and religious education classes. She and I are memorizing Bible verses in homeschool. We volunteer for child care and preparing meals. But where is my PUSH for her to excel in these areas? Where is the DRIVE to point out, at every opportunity, how we can love God and others right here and right now, like I do with reading and math?