Friday, March 27, 2009

Why Do Our Kids Think We Value Them?

It is baseball season. This is a big deal in our home because Jason always coaches the boys' teams. This year he is managing both Luke's and Jack's teams, which makes me team mom/scheduler/organizer of both teams. Anyway, it takes over our life a little bit. 

This brings me to last night. Luke plays catcher on his team. He is new to this position this year and it is a little high stress for me because the catcher has a lot of responsibilities- there is the fact that people can steal on him and he has to be aware of what is going on at every base, and there is this other rule called the drop third strike rule. His dad and his great uncle are his coaches. So, unlike with other players, they do not hesitate to correct him or yell at him during the game. 

Now, this is not mean yelling. It is just yelling so he can hear them and knows what to do.  He is pictured below. So darn cute!

Our game started at 7:50pm on a school night.  I could write a whole other post about that, but I'll refrain right now. We were playing the first place team and winning, but they were starting to come back. It was after 9:30pm and Luke had been catching the whole game. He had the ball in his hand and a runner came home from third and scored on him. He was looking at first base, not at the runner on third. I was like, "You have got to be kidding me. What was he thinking?" I never knew how competitive I was until I started watching my kids compete. But, I have learned to keep my mouth shut most of the time. 

Luke's team ended up winning the game. It was now 10pm,  we were leaving the field and do you know what this nice mother said to her child? It was this, "Luke, you did such a great job catching the whole game, but what happened with that runner scoring on you from third?" This is where my husband explained to me that Luke was supposed to throw it to first because there were two outs and that it was a hard call to make.

 I feel like such a jerk. 

I know that it wasn't that mean compared to what some other parents say to their kids, but really, I didn't need to deliberately point out the one thing that he possibly did wrong. Nobody likes that, especially me.

Jason and I both expect our children to do their best at whatever they do. It does not have to be perfect, but they must try their best at schoolwork, at being kind, at sports. If they don't, we can push them. But, sometimes I feel like I am being critical and correcting all the time. This can't be good.

This got me thinking about a conversation that I had with one of my dear friends this week. It was about why our kids feel they are special, why they matter. I have always told my kids that they are special because God made them unique and that there is nobody else exactly like them in the world. I have told them that He has great purposes for them. 

But I wonder how my children interpret my corrections and criticisms that are often in the name of good parenting. Do they think that they are only valued if they "perform" to my expectations? If they are kind? If they get good grades? If they make good choices? If they perform during a ball game? I surely hope not, but I can't take it for granted.  

This is why I need to be sure to speak those words out loud. To say specifically to them when they are actually listening, " No matter what you do or don't do, you are valuable to me and I love you. No matter what grades you get, how you perform in the game, what other people say about you, you are special to me.  I love you simply because you are mine."

I know that if I was valued by God based on my performance alone, I would fall short every time. I would much rather rest in the knowledge that He loves me, not for what I do or don't do, but simply because I am His. My children need to be able to rest in that too.


1 comment:

Liz said...

Great post! Can really make a person think about how they talk not only to other people but especially their kids. I try soooo hard not to associate my corrections on behavior to the actural child, but to their actions. If you are interested: read the Babywise (childwise) book by Gary Ezzo and Making Children MIND without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman. Really good and makes you think.