I’m not a big fan of bragging about my kids. My parents had some close friends when I was growing up and all they talked about was how amazing their kids were. It was annoying.
As a parent now, what I do want to make sure I do is encourage my kids, without prideful statements. As a Christian, I value humility. But don’t get me wrong, I struggle with pride and have to make a conscious effort to kill it in my heart every day.
It seems the Lord has given particular talents that make this harder. I’m an actor, a writer, and a leader. All these things are prone to increase your pride and often require self-promotion (hate that word) when you need to market yourself.
And let’s not forget, I’m male…and men struggle with the sin of pride anyway, even without talents and abilities. It’s in our nature. I could blame it on testosterone, but it’s deeper than that. Maybe I’ll blame it on Adam.
At any rate, because I struggle with pride, it’s hard to not see it in others too…especially my middle school-aged children. But this is when they to be bragged about most. I see it in their eyes, that longing for approval and esteem.
Middle school is hard for kids. They are stuck between childhood and adulthood. There’s so much pressure to be liked and approved of among peers. They come home exhausted from the social interactions alone.
So when they brag about themselves it’s because they are desperate for it and I’m probably not doing a good enough job reminding them how awesome they are.
Last week, one of my daughters begin talking about how good she looked. I caught myself getting ready to share the importance God places on modesty and humility but I stopped. She just needed Daddy to mention how incredibly beautiful she was, without turning it into a lesson on pride.
Yesterday, my other middle school daughter wrote an email to the school dean asking him to reevaluate a teacher’s decision to give a bad grade. The email was mature and professional and contained no teen angst that might normally disqualify her complaint. Not once did she include “It’s not fair!” or “Mrs. X hates me.”
I was proud of my child and I told her. Later–about an hour later–I brought it up again, letting her know I was still pondering it and how impressed I was with her maturity.
Lest you think I’m a better dad than I am, let me tell you: I don’t make a practice of this like I should. Most times I think it but don’t say it aloud, for fear I’ll create a prideful teen.
Sometimes I suck at parenting. But I’m trying.
How about you? Do you agree it’s ok to encourage your kids? What about in public, among others, where it could be considered bragging? How does this fit into our family as followers of Christ? Where’s the balance? Share your thought in the comments.
If you’re a single parent, consider The Single Dad Detour, available today on Amazon.com