Tomorrow is the big First Annual Home School Fair at our church. We've been looking forward to this for the past couple of months. Of course, my kids are just like me - huge procrastinators. So, all the final projects are getting done today.
I'm a control freak. Have I mentioned that before? Well, when I signed my kids up for the various categories, I had to tell myself and them that all that mattered was they do their best. I knew I'd have to give them the freedom to do their projects the way they wanted to. The whole idea is that the students show their skill - not the parents.
Truth be told, my kids most likely will not win any awards in most of the competitions. However, they have impressed me with their effort. All I've asked is that they do their best and they have.
I've also been pretty happy with my own effort to keep my "suggestions" (aka - criticisms) to myself. If they brought me something that I knew wasn't their best, I told them that and made them re-do it. But, otherwise, I've kept my mouth shut.
Tomorrow, three of them are in the spelling, Bible, and geography quizzes. I'll be rooting for them. Now, don't tell anyone as I know it's unChristian of me, but I honestly do hope they will win something - especially in Bible and geography as they've been working hard and they have a chance. However, I am really rooting for them to do their best.
I'm rooting for me to be an encourager and not a criticizer.
I really think that if my kids were in sports, I'd be more like that stereotypical pushy father than the quiet encouraging mother.` I often worry that my criticisms will discourage my kids and they'll look back on their growing-up years thinking they were never able to please me. This thought keeps me in check.
Praise the Lord, the older I get and the older my kids get, I think a little bit more before I speak. My kids need to be encouraged to do their best, but I need to be careful in how I do that. Some things I try to think of (once in a while, when I'm in my right mind) before I criticize:
1 - are they capable of doing what I ask?
2 - do I demand the same perfection of myself?
3 - what is my tone of voice in my suggesting? Critical or encouraging?
4 - does it matter if it's not done the way I want it? Am I discerning enough to know when it does matter and when it doesn't?
5 - what is my motivation for them to do well - for their growth and maturity or for my own pride?
So, pray for my children tomorrow - that they'll do their best and that they're mother will be their biggest and most encouraging fan!