I served as a Guidance Counselor for a school for several years concurrently while I was a Kids Church pastor. I remember when a young girl came to my office alarmed and panicky because her parents told her that if she didn’t make it to first honor, they will cancel their family trip to Hong Kong. For a 9 year old girl, that was a lot of weight to carry on her shoulders. Imagine, all your siblings will get mad that they won’t get to see Mickey and ride Ocean Park’s Hair Raiser roller coaster just because she didn’t make it to first honors.
I had to talk to her parents and let her know how burdened their daughter felt with that condition. I appreciate their humility for acknowledging their mistake merely wanting to inspire not knowing it was bringing the opposite effect. They apologized to their daughter and changed their stand.
Acceptance is embracing people for who they are rather than what they do.
Our children need to feel that we accept them whether they get first honor or a failing grade, made a 3 point shot or complete miss the rim, make it to the cheer dance team or get cut from the team.
When we show unconditional acceptance, we give our children a sense of security.
What we are communicating to our kids is this: “I don’t love you because of what you do or what you accomplish. I love you because you are my child. Our love and affection towards you are not based on grades, performance, accomplishments or even behavior.”
We live in a highly performance oriented society. If we get first honor, we are rewarded. If we make it to varsity, we become the favorite in the family. If we win in the student council, we end up being the topic in the family reunion.
That goes on through adulthood. When we land a good job, we are the jewel of the clan. When we achieve something that none in the family has achieved, we become highly favored.
That is why we have a lot of frustrated and badly hurt people because they can’t seem to win the approval of the people they dearly love.
In the process, our kids end up feeling unaccepted, insecure and lack a sense of belongingness.
Obviously, the counter balance is for our children to not strive or endeavor to be the best at their field.
But what I am saying is that as they desire to excel, we appreciate their praiseworthy attempts than criticize for not making the cut.
Acceptance says “I love you no matter what.”
Jesus showed us unconditional acceptance. He didn’t die for us after we started obeying. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 5:8, “He demonstrated His love to us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
He accepted us way before we were worthy of being accepted.
NOTE: This is part 2 of a 4 week series on Capturing Your Child’s Heart.
To read week 1, click here.