In America you will sometimes see cars with bumper stickers announcing that the owner’s child is an ‘honour student’ at a particular school. And while we all feel good about the successes of our children, two potential problems can arise. First, there’s a natural irritation on the part of parents whose kids struggle or are less gifted. One mother put this bumper sticker on her car: ‘My kid can beat up your honour student.’ A second problem arises when the pride of the family is riding on the shoulders of an immature child. Your child is not designed to handle that level of pressure! They need to know that they are loved and accepted because of their own unique worth.
John McKay, the great football coach at the University of Southern California, had a son who was also a successful football player on the USC team. When an interviewer asked Coach McKay to comment on the pride he felt over his son’s accomplishments, this is what he said: ‘Yes, I’m pleased that John Jr had a good season this year. He does a fine job, and I’m proud of him. But I would be just as proud if he had never played the game at all.’ Great answer! His son would not lose his father’s respect if the next year brought failure and disappointment, because his place in his father’s heart was secure and independent of his performance.
That’s the kind of love your children need from you. ‘Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.’ Christ’s love is not performance-based; it’s unconditional, unbreakable, and unending. Yours must be too!