Tuesday, July 28
I might be biased but I have some pretty talented kids. We’ve got a musician, an artist, and an athlete, and on any given day those roles are interchangeable between them. My husband and I take no credit for their abilities, we’re amazed at how God has wired each one of them.
Throughout their years of playing in bands and on sports teams, we’ve seen our fair share of favoritism. There are always the kids who don’t show up for practice but manage to secure the first chair in band or get placed on the team roster as a starter. Those kids are always revered, everybody wants to be just like them.
At times my kids will ask why they always have to go to practice and why we push them to show up and give their best especially when it doesn’t seem to pay off.
Recently, we found ourselves in this conversation again. You see, one of our daughters plays baseball, she’s typically the only girl on the field. She’s at the point where she has a choice to be an all-star at one level or challenge herself and play up.
This particular weekend she was playing in a tournament 2 levels higher than her current level. We’re talking about a 14-year-old girl playing against 16-year-old boys, some who have already committed to colleges. Needless to say, she wasn’t a starter this time around and she wasn’t getting much playing time but we knew she could still come out as a better player from it.
A couple of days into this mid-July heatwave tournament she decided she’d had enough. So much so that she tried to cut up her jersey so we couldn’t make her persist. I wish I was lying about that.
She was tired of putting in the work and not seeing the rewards. I sympathized but I knew this was a teachable moment. It was important to keep pushing her to be her best even when it didn’t feel good and she wasn’t getting the affirmation she desired.
Proverbs 26 warns us that a fool grows more foolish each time they’re rewarded but those who work hard will receive honor.
It’s tempting to get caught up in how our children are outwardly succeeding. Ultimately, we made the decision to care more about the character she was developing than her tournament stats, so we kept pushing – even though it was really hard on us all.
Her team continued to move through the tournament undefeated and advanced to a playoff game where things began falling apart. One starting player continued making lazy mistakes and brushing it off even though his errors were impacting the whole team. In an unprecedented move, the coach called time out and walked onto the field. He removed the player and called my daughter off the bench to replace this position for the remainder of the game.
Proverbs reminds us that honor is given based on character, not position. Undeserved honor can lead us to think we’re more than we are and we’ll never fully grow into all that God intended for us to be.
Parents, I want to encourage you to keep pushing your kids to develop the kind of qualities that God honors, not the kind our culture honors. It’s unpopular, and really hard, but I promise if you lean in you’ll also walk away with a more developed character.
Deby Fabrazzo, Youth Director
Deby oversees our High School and College ministries. She loves creating environments and opportunities for students to meet Jesus and experience His grace in their everyday lives. It’s especially personal to Deby who is a mom to three teenage daughters. She has been married to her high school sweetheart Mark for 21 years.
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