Little Miss dumped her backpack on the floor and ran to the backyard yelling, “Mom, there’s lots of stuff for you in there! To look through!”
Sighing, I went to her backpack and unearthed a thick stack of crumpled papers. It looked like everything she had worked on for the last several weeks. I looked through the papers, setting unfinished work in a pile to work on later.
I wish I could say that I paid more attention to her finished work. I wish I had called her in to applaud her effort. I wish I had celebrated everything she’s learned this year.
But I didn’t.
Instead, my mood soured with every incomplete assignment. One in particular really got to me.
It was a blank worksheet. On the top was a sticky note reading: Did not even attempt. *Sad face*
There goes the mother-of-the-year award.
I spent the afternoon silently stewing over Little Miss’ lack of focus and (sometimes) lack of effort. It grated on me. I was a fairly responsible student. How did she become so different from me?
After my initial frustration wore off, I realized I was being ridiculous. She is learning, and it’s okay for her to have bumps along the road. It doesn’t always measure my success as a mother.
Oh God, I whispered. Show her to me as You see her. Help me focus on the things she’s good at. Make me aware again of her gifts and talents. She needs to hear encouragement from me. I don’t want her to feel like she never measures up. Show me her gifts.
Show me her gifts. That was my prayer.
Because if I’m not rooting for her strengths, who is? She shouldn’t have to grow up with a mom who only notices the work she didn’t finish. Just because I’m a perfectionist, just because I loved school, just because I would have been horrified to leave so much work undone. That doesn’t make it right for me to only notice her unfinished assignments.
Show me her gifts.
Because she is gifted. God crafted her, formed her, loved her. And He made her exactly the way He wanted her to be. So who cares if school isn’t her strongest point? Our culture will push that on her, expect her to excel academically, tell her she can’t get a good job without a college degree, tell her school is the only way realize all her dreams…
And school is important. But I can’t push perfection on her. It’s my job to see the value in her as she is. What a tragedy to teach her that she is no longer valuable if she struggles in school. And I fear sending that message unintentionally.
Show me her gifts. Help me recognize that which makes her unique.
That evening I was straightening up downstairs, and I found a neat pile of heart bracelet charms and picked dandelions tucked away in the corner of the carpeted floor. I hadn’t seen her place them there, but I knew Little Miss had carefully arranged it exactly the way she wanted it. A smile crept over my face as I focused on this small evidence of her creativity and originality, her imagination and precision.
The answer to my prayer.
I am incredibly flawed, annoyingly perfectionistic, and often hold others, particularly my kids, to unreasonably high standards. But God, in His great grace, is helping me pay more attention to my daughter’s gifts.
She is always taking ordinary things, and inventing new uses for them. She has a kind and gentle heart that is always willing to give to others. And now that I’m on the lookout, I’m seeing her gifts everywhere.
Here are some glimpses of her creative spirit.
Wishing you a wonderful week,