Parenting Approval: Who’s Opinion Matters to You?

Parenting Approval-flower

The other day I was making lunch for my boys when one of them said, “mom, look! Isn’t this cool?” He had just finished a coloring project he had been working on. I responded with the typical mom response, “that’s awesome, buddy. Good job!” His brother was a little less enthusiastic and said something about how it really wasn’t that cool. That launched an argument between them. One saying that it wasn’t cool at all, the other insisting he had made a very cool drawing. Finally the one who finished the project turned to me, very upset, and said, “moooommmmmm! He doesn’t think my coloring is cool!”

I thought this would be a great teaching moment so I talked to both of them about how it doesn’t matter what others think of you, it matters what God thinks of you. As long as you did your best and you know it’s pleasing to God, than it doesn’t matter what someone says about you. As I finished making lunch I meditated on what I had just told them. How often, as parents, do we worry about what others think and not care what God thinks? I struggle often in this area. When I go out I think of how will others see me? If my kids are with me I need to make sure they look good and behave perfectly otherwise other parents will judge me and think I don’t know how to raise my kids.

If I go somewhere with my husband, how I look and act now reflects on him and I need to make sure I’m making him proud.  When he comes home I’m thinking about how the house looks, will he like what I made for dinner, do I look presentable enough (i.e. do I have a clean shirt on and is my hair washed- anyone else with me?!). Hopefully someone else reading this can understand a little of what I’m saying! My point is, a lot of the decisions we make every day, every moment even, revolves around what other people think. But how often do we think about what pleases God? Please don’t misunderstand me, it is important we look presentable, our house is welcoming and our kids know how to behave. But does what other people think drive your decision making? The Bible has many verses talking about the need to have God’s approval over man’s.

Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

These are just a few verses that speak of pleasing God. I’m not saying this is an easy thought process, but one thing you learn quickly as a parent is that kids are mirrors. They reflect, repeat and reveal what they see in us as parents. Are you a person who strives to please God; is your MO that of someone seeking to please their Heavenly Father? Or are you a person driven by fear? She didn’t say “Hi” to me, does she not like me anymore? My boss hasn’t told me lately I’m doing a good job. My spouse hasn’t complimented my new hairstyle, clothes, etc. My kid wasn’t invited to a party, what did he do wrong?

While some of these can be legitimate reflections of something needing to be fixed, they could also mean absolutely nothing. If you have these thoughts, think back on what I told my kids. Have you been doing your best? Have you been living your life pleasing to God? If the answers to those questions are “yes”, than don’t let your need for approval from man ruin your life. Not only will you ruin your life, but you will teach your kids to grow up with the weight of making everyone happy and meeting others’ expectations over God’s. That is not a demand that I want to put on my kids. Join me in living a life where the priority is pleasing God first!

Sarah

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