I have dreams and aspirations for my two kids. I can see the potential in each of them, and I know what they are capable of doing. Many times, they can’t see their potential, and it frustrates me. I want them to succeed in everything that they do. Yet, my love and desire for them can cause me to communicate something unintentionally.
Our students live in a very competitive, high stress, high-pressure environment. They are asked to compete at school to get the best grade in the class or even to be at the top of their class. They are asked to compete on their sports team to be a starter or the star on the team so that they can receive an athletic scholarship. They are asked to compete in their theatre group so that they can obtain the staring role so that why can be noticed by a university or acting agency. Not all competition is wrong, and a desire for our students to excel in all they do is not bad either, but if all we focus on in our student’s lives is the outcome we communicate something that can be devastating for our students: You are not enough
Our sons and daughters continuously hear you are not smart enough, beautiful enough, athletic enough, strong enough, good enough. They can hear it at school, at home, from coaches, teachers, parents, friends, theatre directors, and the list can go on.
One of the most significant themes on our Mexico Service trips is to reaffirm to them that they are enough just the way they are. Our love for them is not dependent on anything they do or don’t do. Our love for them is not dependent on whether they succeed in class, on the sports field or on the stage. We affirm them that God’s love is not dependent on anything we do or don’t do, His love never changes and communicates that we are enough for His love. You as a parent is enough for His love. We as parents need to communicate these three words to the most precious people in our lives, our sons, and daughters, YOU ARE ENOUGH. “You are enough for my love just the way you are, and for the simple fact you are my son/daughter.”
When we get caught up in the competition of our students, we can unintentionally communicate that who they are is not enough for our love, affection, or affirmation. As a parent I want my son to be the best basketball player he can be. At times, I can have unrealistic expectations of the basketball player he is and can be. I have failed at communicating with him that my love for him is based on his performance. I have had to ask for his forgiveness and explained to him that I love him no matter what. But when he fails or falls short of what I think he is capable of doing, I must tell him AND show him that no matter how he performs on the basketball court, he is enough, just the way he is for my love.
Just like a good coach, teacher or parent, we love our kids just the way they are, but we don’t want to leave them that way. The same is true with God. He loves us just the way we are, but he loves us enough not to leave us where we are at in our lives. He desires to see all of us grow to become the men and women He created us to become.
I coached basketball at San Marin High school for 12 years. Would I be a good coach if I didn’t want to see my players develop and grow to become a better basketball player by the end of the year? Of course not! The same is true with us as parents. We need to express our love for them not based on their performance while encouraging them to become better versions of themselves in the classroom, on the playing field and on the stage. The biggest test of our love is when they fail. When they come home with a grade lower than we had hoped for or if they don’t make the team or sit the bench or if they get a much lesser role in the next theatre production how do we respond in love that communicates you are still enough?
As we continue to parent the most important people in our lives, let us be sure to express that our love for them is not based on their performance whether they succeed or fail. Let us encourage and be the biggest cheerleaders for our sons and daughters in ways that inspire them and equip them to become all that God has created them to become.
“You are enough!”