Friday, October 25, 2013

Trophy Children

A radio commentator recently gushed over a 16 year old for deciding to skip college to pursue pro golfing.  Already, we were told, this young woman could win millions with her golfing abilities.  The commentator was in awe of the focus required from this individual.

While we applaud the accomplishments and drive of such people, it often leaves me feeling sorry for them.  If I were to sit down with this 16 year old in an honest conversation, I wonder what her story would be?

Did her parents decide golfing was their daughter's passion when she was five?  Did they live at the greens and did she spend every waking hour and every dime perfecting her skill?  Was she on the road weekends, traveling to other cities to compete?  Is she an only child?

I am fully aware that performing anything on a professional level is not a walk in the park.  I cannot imagine the dedication, discipline, and yes, focus, it must take an individual to achieve such a feat.  

I would like to think it is her own ambition and ability which has brought her to this place in life.  But call me skeptical.  I've seen too many driven parents determined to make trophies of their children, to believe the dream started out as her own.

Does the trophy child know that if grades, athletics, etc., are not their strong point, they are still loved?  Do they know that they do not have to achieve perfection to find their niche in the world?  

My husband's last 20 years in youth ministry, has gained us a unique vantage point on children. 

We've seen all types come through the youth group.  Public schooled, private schooled, home schooled, ADD, autistic, gifted and talented, broken homes, blended, and traditional families.  Yet, in all of that, there is one common denominator with their success or failure at life.

Did the child feel loved by their parents?   Many a parent has loved their child, but if it is not communicated in a way the child can understand, it becomes ineffective.

Were they treated as individuals with the freedom to become who God made them to be, or as trophies?  Was Jesus real in the lives of the parents or was hypocrisy the norm?  Were the children challenged in situations where they had to depend on God, or were they coasting along on their parent's faith, everything made easy for them?  

I'm hoping to raise children who follow in God's plan and know His love, but every now and then I have to stop and evaluate my true motives.  Am I seeking to mold these children into my own dreams and ambitions, or in what God made them to be?

It is not my image, but God's that matters.   And if God has a different plan for my child than I had anticipated or pushed for, can I accept and support that?

Our children . . . not prizes, but gifts.

No comments:

Post a Comment