Last night as my husband and I were talking about a particular child who is in a competitive sport, but doesn't want to be, we realized that competing against others just isn't his thing.
Thinking about it in the light of day and examining my heart, I've come to some ugly and true realizations.
I have a child who HATES school. He will never come home with a straight A report card.
I have a child who struggles with some really serious anxiety issues. To the point of not being able to go to the bathroom when he needs to because he is overly anxious.
I have a child who was repeatedly told to fix some things in his performance to get a better score and try as he might he couldn't, until we took the pressure of competing off and then the improvement came.
What does that mean for me?
Here's where it gets ugly.
I have to realize that I am never going to be able to brag about my child's academic successes. He probably won't go to an ivy league school (bonus: we don't have to pay for ivy league). No matter how smart he is, he will not achieve the successes that come in the "regular" academic world. I also have to accept that what I always hoped for him, may not be what makes him happy.
I have a child who will never compete in the sport he enjoys, because competition shuts him down from making progress. So we will see his progress. No one else will, and there are no ribbons or trophies for those who don't compete.
We may have to homeschool the one who is so anxious he spends too much time in the bathroom agonizing over his fears. No smiling from risers and cute waves into the audience.
All those bragging rights about acceptance letters, trophies and ribbons, Christmas concerts and Spring Sings with waving smiling kiddos, are not going to be our regular world. We take them when we can and thoroughly enjoy them. I am becoming increasingly aware that I will not have the kind of Facebook posts, or Instagram pictures that let the world know how amazing and wonderful my kids are.
I'll admit it. It kind of makes me sad.
It makes me sad, that as their mom I wanted/needed bragging rights.
That even for a moment I wanted people to look at me and say "She is an amazing mom, look at what her kids have achieved."
That doing what's right for my kids may have taken a back seat to what all the expectations are for those who are "successful."
Writing this I realize I keep saying "my kids." These are not my kids, they are precious sons of a Heavenly Father who has let them come to my home for a little while. They are children of God. They just happen to be in my care for a while.
I need to stop looking for the world to give them trophies and accolades because those will all go away.
I need to look for Him to give me guidance as to how to raise them.
I need to see them as He does. Just as importantly, they need to see themselves as He does.
I need to stop seeing them as potential Facebook fodder and more as precious gifts, gifts that will mature and move away.
I need to help them realize who they are and that no college acceptance or rejection, last place trophy or concert defines who they really are in my eyes or His.
I need to realize that in the scholastic realm, sports realm, I can do it all realm, our kiddos may not be participants. Ultimately those realms don't matter. They may seem important for a while, and they can teach important things. But in the wholeness of life, they are dust collectors, and pride enhancers. I don't need any more dust collectors. I'm already struggling with my pride, I don't need any more to get over, thank you very much.
So I guess I am a realm squasher. Pretty sure I might put that on my next resume. It's actually starting to sound catchy to me.