Thursday, January 6, 2011

Perfection is Impossible

As you approach this new year I am sure you have a vision of how you want your kids to develop. Maybe its improvement in school, more consistent obedience, better relationships with siblings, or just keeping their room clean. We all want our kids to be better than they are.

I can tell you from experience that as noble as those goals may be, your kids will disappoint you. The older they get, the more they drift from your perfect picture- because they are not a clone; they are becoming an individual with a will of their own. And that will won't always match yours.

Get ready to accept that reality but know that you are not alone. God knows better than anyone what it is like to deal with rebellious children. If He couldn't always control His kids, you won't either(read the Old Testament!). So maybe its time to stop expecting perfection both from your parenting skills and their behavior. Realize it is a journey with plenty of bumps and detours. Strive for improvement but don't expect perfection.

I made the mistake of expecting perfection but I eventually realized that I was more concerned about them making me look good than coaching them to make good choices on their own. That is a huge shift in mindset. A coach knows he has to develop a player's skills and that includes working through the mistakes until they develop muscle memory and consistent decision-making.

But even that assumes the kid wants to improve; all coaches have found kids that just don't want to play the game that badly so they quit. Parents don't have that option- they have to keep working at it, even when the child's motivation is lacking. So how do you fix a lack of motivation?

If you figure out the answer to that question, be sure to share it with God because He struggles with that same issue with many of His kids. Dump the expectation of perfection and join God in the challenge to develop good decision-makers.