Uriah Gets an Award

Recently our son Uriah was selected by his teacher to receive the "Sense of Community" award for his class. His teacher called to notify me and so the "home" kids and I made sure to make the trek over to his school to witness him receiving it.

When we got there I noticed that most of the other parents had brought their kids balloons.  At first I felt kind of bad, but it really made me think about a change of attitude I've had in the last few years.  I'm not judging the parents who brought balloons...they have their own motives and reasons for doing what they do and I don't think any less of them.

Yes, I'm proud of Uriah.  And yes we support our kids but awards like this aren't a HUGE big deal to us and here's why....

1.  I want my kids to understand that they don't have to do anything to earn my love.  I love them no matter what they do.  If they went to prison, I'd be disappointed but I wouldn't love them any less.  If they received a Nobel Peace prize, I'd be excited for them but I wouldn't love them any more than I already do.  My love for them is not based on their performance.  It's based on our relationship, it's based on who they are.

2.  Awards like this don't necessarily mean anything.  Teachers are not infallible.  They are not omnipotent.  I've witnessed kids who made my kids lives miserable (by incessant bullying and cruelty) receive this award.  And I've witnessed the efforts of kids who continually work hard go completely unnoticed and un rewarded. So depending on the level of observation by the teacher, the kid who gets the award may just be the kid who managed to make themselves look good in front of the teacher, regardless of how they behave when he/she is not looking.

3.  I want my kids to understand that we do the right thing simply because it IS the right thing...no matter who can see or if anyone else will even notice or what the reward will be. If their teacher notices, great! But if not, the peace of a clear conscience and the glory they bring to God is reward in itself.

4.  I want to, as best as I can...I am only human...give my kids a picture of how God loves them.  I want them to understand that salvation is completely unmerited...that God forgives us and loves us in spite of our sin.  And that we do good works to bring Him glory...not to earn his favor.  I don't want them to spend their life trying to earn it. I want them to bask in God's love and instead of being depressed and feeling hopeless...I want them to feel elated that their God is so awesome that He could forgive a poor wretched sinner like them. (to be clear...I do not believe that they are sinners right now...I believe that eventually they will be)

So, as of now, the only celebrating we have done or will do is taking his picture with his award. I don't think the occasion requires balloons or a special dinner.  We'll have completely unmerited balloons and a special dinner to celebrate our love for our kids on another, completely random occasion.

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