School is about performance. Report cards and grades are the measure of success. There are tests to be taken and teams to tryout for. But evaluating performance is not the true measure of a child’s worth. No child can bear the weight of thinking he has to measure up to a standard in order to be appreciated and have worth. Academic pursuits are not a true measure of worth. Neither is academic excellence. Do your children know this? Do you believe this?
It is one thing to say that your children are a blessing to you and that you delight in them. It is another for them to actually believe this. Don’t misunderstand, failing to discipline and teach your children to work to the best of their ability is not an option. But neither is having them believe they are not a blessing to you. No matter what grade is earned there is always something more that could be done. Your child is well aware of this reality. Even when your children struggle with their performance in school they must be secure in the knowledge that you delight in them.
Yes, you want your children to do well in school. But when they struggle are they worth less? When they excel are they worth more? The gospel says no to both questions. Yes, you want your children to serve God by being diligent in their school work. They need to learn discipline and to be hard workers. But these things must be done for the glory of God and not for the approval of parents.
Only the liberating power of the gospel can bring true balance to parenting. The Lord disciplines you without condemnation. Do your children have the same assurance? Do they know they are loved by parents who have been forgiven, by parents who treat them as God’s precious gift, regardless of their performance?
Parents, this is not an extra credit assignment. Your love and acceptance of your children must be based on the gospel grace extended to you. You must be confident that God delights in you before you can truly delight in your children. If you know Christ and you have a bad day honoring your responsibilities, your worth as a child of God has not diminished. God still delights in you, even when he disciplines you (Proverbs 3:11-12). Give this same blessing to your children.