On Friday, I started a series of posts about making your kid feel special. Some of what I will write is based on my experience as my parents’ child, and some is based on my experiences with Jakob, young as he is. Today, I continue that series with part two, and hopefully part three will post on Thursday. We will see.
My mom and dad were always my biggest fans growing up. They were totally into whatever I did, and not just because I’m their favorite. They supported my siblings in their ventures, too. At least one parent was at every game I ever played in my illustriously short sports career. They showed up for church related competition (yes, those existed, odd as it sounds). I don’t think they ever missed a parent-teacher conference. My mom and dad even drove all the way to Florida to sit through a college graduation ceremony that was way too long and way too hot. They’ve always been in my corner.
My parents may have over-celebrated, or I may have taken their celebration too seriously. In my mind, I was a basketball god, a brick wall soccer goalie, and the greatest storyteller to ever pick up a Bible, an easel, and a stack of colored poster boards. As I grew older but not taller, I began to realize that my parents loved me and saw me a way no one else did. Despite my waning ability to keep up with others athletically, my parents didn’t waver in their support. They weren’t fair weathered fans, because no such thing truly exists. They were fans – fanatics – and their children made up their favorite team.
I think the most important part was that they celebrated my performance, not my victories. They taught me the values of winning and losing, and doing both with grace, but I never felt like they were let down by the losses. They always had something good to say about what I had done, regardless of outcome. My dad would always take me aside and tell me how I could do even better, as opposed to yelling at me at telling me how I had screwed up.
My parents still celebrate what I do. I know they’ll read this, because they are still in my corner. The next time I preach in big church, I know they will be there. They are still excited and interested in my life. They have taught me the importance of celebrating my child. So if you see me clapping when Jakob obeys me, tries to open the door for Sarah, or just stands up after stumbling, don’t think I’m too weird. I’m just starting early.