I know what I’m good at. I offer a confident yes to things I know I can nail.
I also know where I’m challenged. But, unfortunately, being a people-pleaser makes it really hard to say no to someone who needs another volunteer.
Besides, it feels like the right thing to do. It shows Audrey and Asher how important it is to be selfless and flexible.
But, I wonder… Is this the legacy we want to leave? That doing something just because it “has to” be done is admirable? Or are we lifting our children up to become masters of what they love and do really well?
Don’t we want them to be a mile deep – instead of a mile wide?
We say Find yourself … Be yourself… Don’t let anyone take away or diminish what only you can offer the world. We encourage them to take piano lessons, learn code on the computer or volunteer at the hospital. We nurture the artist and provide the supplies. We attend every recital, game, show, and bee.
But when the artist gets a “C” in social studies, or the athlete “does not meet” in math? Ye gods! The world as we know it may very well end if we don’t right this ship – and quickly.
Because we have allowed a blind and rigid and neutralizing system to take over and make the rules. A system in which success is pre-determined in every skill, for every age. If your child is this age, they should be reading at this level and should know all of these math facts and should do them this fast. And should do this many push-ups, run this fast, draw this, sing that and join this many clubs and teams.
“Ok, Ms. SmartyPants,” I hear you saying. “Just what do you think would happen if we didn’t have those standards? How would we measure success? We would surely end up in chaos and failure. Our children would never be ready for the real world.”
To which I would say… “And I should clean up the kitchen right after dinner every night. I should keep the bathrooms shiny and the clothes clean, folded, and ready. I should read my Bible every day, and take vitamins, and exercise. I should always be on time and never lose my patience.”
Good golly, Miss Molly.
I’ll go on. “The standard in my kitchen is a reasonable level of order and clean enough. Bathrooms? Ditto. Laundry? We always have something appropriate to wear. Bible reading? When I miss a day, I ask forgiveness and get busy. Vitamins? Exercise? Who are you…the boss of me? On time and always in control? Once again, forgiveness is freely accepted and success is measured minute by minute.”
(Didja hear Boom!!?)
But when I write or praise or read or love my family you better believe that, if I’m not going 100 miles per hour straight to the core, there is something dreadfully wrong. These are the things God has asked me to do well, with all of my heart and strength and skill. These are the gifts I have been given – and they most likely bear no resemblance to your skill set — or yours or yours.
So I’m putting “should” in the 4-letter-word category. I’ll say yes to what I do well and no to what I stink at. And I’ll help Asher and Audrey find their deepest selves in a world that’s a mile wide.