Allow Your Children the Luxury of Being Imperfect Beings

thGYLDRKTHWe live in an age in which “everyone gets a prize.” Parents not wanting to disappoint their children, give every participant a ribbon. The world is unfair; in life, everyone does not get a prize.

James heard daily how incredibly special he could be because his older brother was a star athlete. His parents believed that their younger son could also be the  best player on his Little League team as well. Unfortunately this was unmerited praise for he was not. Professing to be Christians, James’s parents attended church and appeared to live godly lives until they attended their son’s Christian school games. That is when their testimony soured. His parents embarrassed their son with their cat-calls and criticism of the other team.  Every coach who benched him “Didn’t know what he was doing, was stupid and a lousy coach.”

Children need realistic boundaries, balance, guidelines and goals. Each child has a different personality and skill level. James loved books more than sports and dreamed of being a famous chef. But his parents continually urged him toward goals which were unrealistic. So few high school players ever go on to become a pro athlete and when James failed to win a college baseball scholarship, he felt like a total failure. He’d never be his brother. As James lived with the daily pressure of his parent’s expectations, he became increasingly resentful and bitter. I’ll never be good enough for them!

Upon entering the real world and away from his parents, James believed life would be easier but it wasn’t. To James, having grown up in an all or nothing environment, he didn’t possess the social skills needed in the business world and failed at every job he tried. But he had found his champion hobby . . . becoming a champion eater and 388 pounds.

He searched for an outlet to fill the emotional emptiness in his life. Food was that substance. James innately discovered that certain chemicals released through food, created feelings of pleasure, especially sugary foods. The more he ate, the more he could numb the pain of his parents nagging. Chemicals satiated his love hunger.

Addiction is addiction is addiction. If it hadn’t been food, it would have been smoking, shopping, alcohol, drugs, gambling or even television. Something needed to fill his inadequacy within. Whatever chemically makes one feel so good it can’t be given it up is an addiction. It masks the pain through its chemical attributes. It’s the reason why many addicts run from one addiction to the other, trying to fill emotional gaps in their lives.

As a child of God, we need to realize that we are each different but useful to Him even with our imperfections. I’d urge you to read to your children the many examples of flawed people who were used by God: Jonah was a coward, David was a cheater, Paul was a murderer, Moses stuttered, Thomas doubted and so on. Allow your own children the luxury of being imperfect. Teach them it is okay to fail if we rise up again! Life is a continuous learning experience and we learn from our mistakes. Each child has a unique personality and reward them with your love because of that!

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:16 )

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23 thoughts on “Allow Your Children the Luxury of Being Imperfect Beings

  1. So interesting Ellie, I just wrote about rewards and kids but in a totally different way. But you are so right re: trying to make our kids one-size-fits-all, I struggle with a family that does this to my son too. He’s not an athlete. He’s more into science, and discovery, and he’ll play chess all day but don’t even think to throw a soccer ball near him! That’s ok in my book, but there’s lots of judging and comparing to his cousins. It’s just not right to do that and in the end, will only hurt them. I had the same issue growing up, always being compared to my brothers and told I was a terrible person for not getting straight A’s. Never did my parents say, ok, great! You are good w/English, science just isn’t your thing. Nothing was good enough. Somehow managed to find self-esteem elsewhere, but for some kids, that’s pretty demoralizing.

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    • Thank you Robin. I appreciate that you reinforced what I wrote. God simply expects us to strive for excellence and holiness, not perfection which is unobtainable and frustrates. Only Christ was perfect! That’s one reason why those on a “diet” plan will never succeed if their standards are too high. Blessings,

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  2. Ellie– Truer words have never been written! When did we become so obsessed with having the “perfect child”? And how does one define a perfect child? It seems that everyone wants their child to be the best at everything, but at what cost to the child? Now, more than ever, people are complaining that younger generations expect everything to be handed to them. This idea of “failure is not an option” does nothing to help children learn about how to fix mistakes and that there is no such thing as being perfect.

    People need to start seeing the beauty in imperfection!

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    • Oh Sperry, I really appreciate your fantastic observation! You must be a counselor too? Having a patient come to the realization of why they do what they do is what makes counseling so special. Change comes from within. Usually it’s hidden deep inside and being a “good little girl or boy” they feel afraid to speak truth. Thank you so much for your comment, Blessings,

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  3. Wow this is so true. Everyone is different and excel in different areas. If we set up children to never fail than we have already failed them. Life is not perfect and we end up giving them false expectations.

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    • Hi Deborah! Thanks for your comment and so glad you see it the same way. (hope all is well with you, still eating those God-created bananas? 🙂 you rebel you!) Actually that proves my point doesn’t it? – we are different, mentally and physically. We must strive for excellence because God desires that for us. Blessings,

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  4. This post is so timely. Just this morning I was helping my five year old do some writing. I was encouraging him to listen to the word sounds and just guess the letters…what we teachers like to call “kindergarten writing.” He was refusing to do it. He said he didn’t want to get it wrong. He hasn’t even started kindergarten yet! I’ve been busy patting myself on the back because he knows how to write his letters and spell some words. Have I also been sending the message that perfection is the only option? That you shouldn’t try if there is a chance you won’t succeed. I’ve been thinking about this all day and I am grateful for this post. It is a beautiful reminder to me to be more diligent about the messages I’m sending to my kids.

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    • Thank you so much justalittlebit, If you don’t mind my advice, I’d recommend you talk to him immediately in your loving (and humorous) motherly way. Reassure him that even BIG people (you) make mistakes and it’s no big deal, it’s how we improve and there was only ONE PERFECT person and that was Jesus and He loves us just as we are. I hope he always knows that you love him just as he is too and nothing could ever change that! Hope this helps and sends blessings to you and your family.

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  5. “As a child of God, we need to realize that we are each different but useful to Him even with our imperfections.”
    If I may, I would like to quote you, the above statement, on my blog, August 19, 2014.
    ME and the Boss

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  6. I wish more parents adhered to this line of thinking! With social media being such a huge factor, it seems that almost everyone shares all their children’s achievements (but rarely their failings), putting pressure on the children… and every other parent and child within their circle. I always tell my kids that I will be their biggest cheerleader, but not to expect me to trumpet it from every quarter; God alone can give them their worth. And I also will call them out if need be. They know they’re imperfect; they get it from me! 😉

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  7. so very true. don’t want to frustrate the poor kids by making them measure up to impossible standards. on the other hand, we don’t want to create a fiction out of our children and believe they make no mistakes and everybody else (teachers, other kids) are to blame for their problems. awesome post!

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  8. Thank you so much for that lovely comment. (You and your family will be on my prayer list as I walk my little dog in the mornings.)

    We need more godly men in this world that’s for sure! My suggestion is to involve your children in preparing meals and other health habits such as exercising. Exercising should be fun, not drudgery! I think if you use my search engine you will find posts that I wrote about exercise, family and fun. Hope that helps? Blessings, and I’m so glad you asked!

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