Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”
Proverbs 23:15-16

My kids love their trophies. Since all four of them are active and athletic, we have collected
quite a few. And this generation has been raised to believe that they get a trophy for everything
in which they participate. We have trophies for every season of soccer, baseball, volleyball,
football, softball and track. Add to these the trophies and medals collected from every
tournament and invitational. We have pictures and costumes from dance recitals and plays. I
have friends who have taken uniform jerseys of years gone by and stitched them into quilts to
commemorate the athletic history of a child. (I really think this is a cool idea, I just don’t have
the energy or the talent to complete this!) We even have reading, piano and spelling trophies.

We live in a world that honors accomplishment. Psychologists have informed us and educators
have seconded the FACT that kids need a positive self-esteem to be successful. And as parents
we reward and encourage and cheer and make them believe they can do anything. As a result,
there is a generation of kids that are charging into adulthood believing everything they do
deserves a trophy. I wonder what would happen if we could convince the world that each child
needs to have a wise heart and an honest tongue.

I see encouraging signs that these values are gaining some momentum. There are commercials
on the television that promote honesty, integrity, kindness and generosity. I’ve seen billboards
that display examples of noble character. But these are drowned out by messages of another
kind. “You deserve it!” “Treat yourself!” “Take time out for you!” “Indulge yourself!”

As a human being in this world, it is difficult to drown out the self-promoting messages. As a
Christian parent, it is even harder to ignore how the world says we should treat our children.
We love them and if any child deserves to be rewarded, it is ours! But the Bible tells us that we
should be judging our kids by a different standard. Not by what they accomplish, but by the
condition of their heart. We should be glad and rejoice when they are so guided by the Holy
Spirit to be honest and wise. I am certain that not many trophy producers are asked to etch
those words onto the metal plates of trophies.

Dear Lord, help us to look to your Biblical standard of accomplishment. Teach us to look to you
for care and guidance so that we can properly encourage our children. Forgive us when we value
worldly praise higher than heavenly peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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