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Seeds of Blessing and Cursing

August 25, 2011

Birth the Great Blessing

Seeds of Blessing and Cursing — Phillip White

Part and parcel of birth is trying to define who the kid is like.  These are the seeds of either a blessing or cursing, depending on how the seed is grown.  The blessing is that you get to watch the developing child grow before your eyes into whatever they are capable of doing.  Yet because family genes carry with them looks and stature, inclinations and idiosyncrasies, the minute a child is born, the family begins investigating and then assigning value to those traits, creating expectations of hope.

However, these values can smear the child with expectations that are lofty and seemingly unreachable, on one hand, or they can seem to tell the child that their future is programmed to a negative purpose.  When we say to the infant how much they are like Uncle Albert, and if Uncle Albert was the world renowned composer, then if the child does show signs of enjoying music, then we can be telling the child that they are not any good unless they are world class.  That is a curse.  Such inference do not take long for a young one to see the foolishness of pursuing such an ambitious end.  If the child is compared to say Aunt Rose, who lived the life of a spinster, then the child may think they will always be single.  Or worst, if a child is compared to someone whose life was filled with disappointment and failure or alcoholism and violence, then what can the child expect of themselves?

What we should tell our child is that they are unique and that what they are will form out of what they experience, what giftings they innately possess, how they discipline themselves and what circumstances are available to them.  No we shouldn’t tell them they are specifically like someone, so they don’t compare themselves to that person.  And (loudly) we should never tell them “why don’t you just act like so and so!”

Genes may give one an upper leg in things that require certain physical attributes.  The fact that a child has Shaq as a father doesn’t mean he can play NBA basketball.  No, the kid might have the size, but they have to have much more than that.  They need to practice, they need desire, they need discipline.  Those are things your genes don’t give you.

One of the worst things one can hear is a prophetic word on how their whole life is to go – it makes them feel like their choices matter little.  It’s like telling them their will is insignificant.  Maybe someone who is highly spiritual is speaking words over your child, but I warn you that repeating those words in the hearing of a child, who can understand those words, may not be beneficial.  Keep those words to yourself, like Mary did of Jesus.

Another avoidable tragedy in homes is the comparison of one sibling to the other.  Actually comparing any family member’s accomplishments or strengths to another family member can place a bar too high in front of a child.  Giving them adult responsibilities and goals is unhealthy.  Goals are like children’s shoes, they should be large enough to grow in, but never too large to cause them to stumble.

What a child needs is to feel emotionally safe.  They need not be ridiculed or compared.  They need to feel nurtured and supported.  The child needs to have goals that are accomplishable.  If the kid can jump two feet, then the goal is 2.5 feet.  The goals grow as the child grows.  The blessing comes from walking through points a, b and c until the steps of grow are left behind.  The world is much too hard a place for parents to put expectations that crush aspirations and budding talent.  Just because a child makes a basket, doesn’t make them Michael Jordan.  Even Jordan failed to make the basketball team.  Success was breed from increasing levels of competition, not by Michael playing against the pros when he was in Junior High.

Recently I spoke with a family that had an academic achiever, who’s scores  was near perfect on the SAT and was received into an excellent college.  But his success eclipsed that of a younger brother, who felt he could not compete, so what was the use or striving for excellence.  Mediocre aspirations are sometimes found in the lives of those who believe they can never be successful, as compared to another family member.

When you have kids, remember that they need unconditional love first and foremost, to make them health, and to allow them to stumble and fall.  They need you to love them as they try out and fail or succeed – the love should not change regardless.  That is the key.

Related Readings:

When a Parent’s ‘I love You’ Means ‘Do as I say.’ New York Times

Athletes: Do you have winning parents? Competitive Advantage

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