Raising amazing kids holds a lot of pressure. We want to raise kind, smart, well-rounded people who make a positive impact in this world. That’s not too much to ask, right?
We also, as parents, want our children to be secure in who they are and to discover and confidently walk in their God-given purpose. All without being burdened by insecurities and the trap of comparison like most of us did.
Unfortunately, if we’re not careful, we can unknowingly stand in the way of our kids discovering their true purpose and greatness. The exact opposite of what we really want.
How is that possible?
It’s like this… you are your child’s biggest fan. From clapping when she first counted to ten all by herself, to cheering like crazy at her high school graduation. As parents, we take the head position in our kid’s fan club the moment they’re born.
And every moment along the way is an opportunity to tell someone else. It’s like part of the parent code or something. Whether we like to admit it or not – We ALL overshare sometimes!
Bragging telling everyone we know about our kid’s latest accomplishments makes us happy. And now it’s even easier with social media.
Click! All our child’s cutest pics, funny sayings, and their latest successes are up and waiting to be seen by all our friends and followers.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing your life on social media or telling your family and friends all about what your child just did. But there’s a real danger of ending up at the proverbial sign-up table of the My Kid’s Better Than Your Kid Contest.
Remember Toddlers and Tiaras? Sure, all the “stage mom drama” is way over the top, but each one of us has had the temptation to walk down that road.
It’s tempting because we all believe our children are totally awesome. Or at least we should!
Keep Your Eyes on the Right Prize
The only problem is this “contest” serves no purpose. It’s really just a trap. An orchestrated distraction with the mission to keep our eyes fixed on the surface instead of the deep greatness inside our children. The purpose for which they were created.
We all have a purpose with gifts, talents, and passions that leave clues to finding that purpose. As parents, we’re able to use those clues to help our child find their purpose. And to answer that age-old question – what am I here for?
But too often we default to short-sighted traps like the trap of comparison. Comparison between your child and someone else’s.
If we follow the path of comparison, we miss out on something profound – who our child really is.
Comparison always breeds insecurity
If we allow our minds and hearts to compare our children against someone else’s or even their sibling (BIG One!); we’ll either be left with a feeling our child doesn’t measure up or we’ll place them on a high pedestal.
Neither is healthy or beneficial to us – or our child. Whether you see your child as higher or lower in this life; both views will lead to insecurity. And if not dealt with, will be passed on to your child.
In case you were scratching your head wondering how a view of superiority can lead to insecurity, let me help you out. It happens because living life on a pedestal above everyone else will eventually cause fear. The fear of falling. Or rather FAILING.
This is where perfectionism and the fear of making a mistake enter in. Both are devastating to the heart of your child.
And let me just say, this stuff happens every day – in every type of family. Most of the time these feelings and actions are so subtle they go, in large part, unnoticed. But they’re no less damaging.
Each one of us was created on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose. We’re all uniquely designed and suited for our purpose in life.
We all have greatness inside of us. But because of the dark and fallen world in which we live, this greatness must be pulled out and revealed. But it will never be revealed through the avenue of comparison.
We Must Consult the Creator of Purpose
So even though you already see your kid as awesome; we need to learn to resist the temptation to stop at the surface and see our child for who they already seem to be. But instead, choose to dig deeper to find the hidden greatness that even your child himself can’t see yet.
As parents, we must find that greatness as if we were on a treasure hunt… because we are.
There is a great treasure on the inside of each of our children and we have to give our lives to finding it and then unveiling it to them so they can see it for themselves.
Look around. There’s insecurity and self-doubt EVERYWHERE. Society offers up a perfectly engineered image that we’ll NEVER measure up to. But that’s not the image we should ever be looking to anyway.
We need to be looking at the image that we were made by – God’s. That’s the only image that’ll ever reflect back to us who we really are.
It’s the only image that looks back with love instead of contempt, hope instead of doubt, purpose instead of emptiness.
In order to effectively go on this treasure hunt, you need a map. And as we make a decision to leave behind the surface good stuff in search of the GREAT stuff; we need to go to the Map Maker.
We All Need a Guide
We’ll never be able to truly know our child’s potential, or our own for that matter, without seeking our Creator. Spending continued time praying for our children is the foundation for seeing greatness in them.
Having a consistent quiet time allows you this space to pray for your child and their purpose. To learn more about jumpstarting a quiet time routine read this post: How to jumpstart a life-transforming quiet time routine.
Mothers and fathers help to bring children into this world, but we can never claim to have created them. When that sweet baby is placed on your chest; you don’t know who they are… yet. This will be discovered and revealed over time.
Every child has a path and as a parent; we must guide them into finding it.
Resist the desire to guide them onto a path that we’ve created for them. It’s dangerous because chances are; they weren’t created for that path. And your path will only lead them to frustration, disappointment, and depression. For evidence of that – just look around.
Outward success doesn’t compare to inward fulfillment. It doesn’t matter if your path seems to fit or seems to work for them. In the end, we find true peace on our path – not someone else’s.
With that in mind, we can focus on the adventure of discovering our child’s true greatness.
Now, let me stop for a moment and define what I mean by greatness. I’m not talking about some prodigy or genius in your child or something they can do better than others. That’s getting back into comparison.
Greatness is that something that stirs on the inside of their heart. This something lives in the deep places of their heart – put there by their Creator. It has to be found- never hanging out on the shallow surface. It lives in the deep. All priceless things must be searched for.
Purpose Isn’t Found Overnight
This is why being able to see greatness in your child is a life-long process. But most of the work should be done while they’re young.
The earlier we can get them to see their greatness the more likely they’ll be rooted and grounded in their purpose and dedicate their lives to accomplishing it.
Guarding their innocent hearts until they’re more mature and able to do it themselves is important in the beginning. We need to set up deliberate gates that keep out words, thoughts, and images that cast doubt on who they are.
Learn how to become a hope injector. Just like those cool meat flavor injectors used to get yummy flavors deep into that chicken we’re making for dinner. Just like that, we should be injecting words of hope and encouragement into our child at every possible moment.
Check out this Blog Post for 50 Ways to Show Love to Your Child in Their Own Love Language.
In their early years, they must be told day in and day out that they were created special and unique. That they have a wonderful purpose in this life. Even if it’s not known yet.
The world we live in tells us it’s bad to be different, so work intentionally to teach them otherwise. To love and embrace their differences as well as others’.
As they grow and as we work to cultivate a deep and open relationship with our child; we’ll see and hear that greatness – that something – rising up.
When it rises up, your child will instinctively know it, but may be afraid of it and try to bury it. This is where the hope injecting comes in. The more they embrace they have a purpose; the less likely they’ll try to run from it.
Be a loving mirror who reflects back to them who they really are. They need this. The world can be very cruel and doesn’t just offer up free encouragement. They gotta get it from us!
It’s Never Too Late
And let me say this. Teenagers are not doomed. They simply lack a revelation of purpose and can’t see their greatness. If given the chance to see who they really were; they’d be freed from the torment that’s been labeled as teenage angst.
This is why the work is best done from the start. But it’s never, ever too late! If you have a teenager who’s lost and hurting – Pray.
Pray that their heart be opened to God’s plan for them. It might be too late for your words right now. But it’s never too late for you to cry out to God to keep them and show them their something. He can do it. He will do it.
Your child’s greatness, and yours too is desperately needed in this world! The reason there’s so much hurting in our world today is that people have lost the ability to believe in purpose. So we aimlessly wander.
It’s time to stop wandering. It’s time to go on a treasure hunt! Decide today to seek the Map Maker and go on the amazing adventure to find your child’s greatness and show it to them as the greatest gift, after Jesus, they could receive.
And if you don’t know your greatness. The steps apply to you, too! Let’s all leave the cheap surface behind and decide to go after priceless deep as a lifelong mission.
For More on Finding Your Own Purpose Check out My Blog Post: The Difference Between Passion and Purpose and Why it Really Matters.
Let me know how you helped your child see their greatness. Leave a comment below and share your story so help someone else!