Your Kids Are Not Your Report Card

A children’s ministry leader motioned for me to come to the back from my seat during the church service one Sunday. She asked if I knew the parents of a certain child and wanted me to help her locate them. Their daughter had been scratched in the face by another three year old in class and she needed to inform the parents. She didn’t know the details or which child was the scratcher. When we arrived at the classroom, I discovered that it had been my daughter that had done the scratching. After profusely apologizing to the couple, I packed up my kids and scooted home as quickly as possible. If I was getting a mom grade that day, it felt like an “F”.

Another time I sat in a school assembly where they awarded the citizen of the year to only one third-grader in the entire school. When my son was chosen, I beamed. Arriving home after being congratulated many times over, I felt like I an “A” parent. (At least until one of the twins threw a tantrum.)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing our kids as our grade cards. God calls us to train them, not to exasperate them, and to lovingly discipline them. So when they obey that must mean we are succeeding and when they disobey we’ve missed the mark. Right?

Wrong. God modeled perfect parenting. He walked in the garden in close relationship with Adam and Eve. He clearly laid out instructions about which tree was off limits. His kids still disobeyed even when God loved them perfectly. He continues to discipline, instruct, and walk with His children. However, He doesn’t grade Himself with our successes and failures.

When we begin to use the behavior of our children as our measure as a parent we will find:

· We pass judgment on others when their children struggle rather than encouraging and praying for them.

· We yo-yo between pride when our children are compliant and shame in times of rebellion.

· We envy the social media posts of academic, athletic, and other achievements of our friend’s kids.

So what does God expect from us in regards to the training of our children? We want them to develop character qualities like obedience, self-control, courage, and kindness. God calls us to train them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Melissa Spoelstra
Melissa Spoelstra
Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She is the author of several Bible studies and Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home. Spoelstra describes herself as a small-town girl from East Texas, but now resides Dublin, Ohio, with her church planter/pastor husband of 20 years and their four children. To keep up with Melissa Spoelstra, You can also follow her onFacebook(AuthorMelissaSpolestra)and Twitter(@MelSpoelstra)

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