It’s great to think our children are wonderful, but we need to be careful not to try to show them off. I’ll share two mistakes I made in this area when our children were in elementary school.
When our daughter, Kristy, was in kindergarten, she played a piano piece in a try out for the school talent show. She was fine at first, but when they spontaneously changed the rooms on her, she became upset and probably would have dropped out at that point, if I hadn’t encouraged her to persevere. The teachers liked her performance, but were concerned that she might fall apart in front of a large audience. Her teacher asked what I thought and I said I thought she’d be okay. I neglected to ask Kristy how she felt. Fortunately, for Kristy’s sake, the judges decided not to include her and she was glad at that point. I was humbled.
My second mistake involved our son, Shon. He earned some money by selling a booklet he created, and then donated the money to charity. He was upset when I told some people about his giving. He said it was between him and the Lord. I apologized and asked for his forgiveness.
We parents shouldn’t let parental pride cause us to push a child into something they’re hesitant about, nor should we try to show off their talents or virtues. It’s good to be supportive, but we need to be sensitive to our children’s feelings.
Questions for meditation and discussion: (1) Have you ever tried to push your child into something they were hesitant about? Explain. (2) How might you know when to back off? (3) Have you ever had an experience where your child did not appreciate you boasting about their achievements? If so, share how that played out. (4a) What part does “motive” play in your decisions? (4b) Have you ever intended to be helpful but your actions weren’t appreciated? Explain.
Application homework: If an instance comes up where your child is hesitant to try something, first check your motive, then pay attention to how you handle it and how your child responds. Write about it.
OR: Pay attention when you’re tempted to boast about your child to someone else. Why are you doing it? What did you do? Why?
(Note: Praising a child directly is different than boasting about the child to someone else.)