when you’re kids just aren’t good enough…

March 30, 2010

House lights down.  Spots up center.  Brightly dressed kids grouped around the front of stage mics. Levi’s big moment…

“He has perfect pitch, doesn’t he?!”

YES!!  AWESOME!!  Way to SELL it kid!  Never before has a six-year-old NAILED “He has perfect pitch, doesn’t he?!” with such nuance… such finesse… such aplomb.

I rise from the soundboard I’m manning to clap and shout… and then I slowly sit down again.  Oh yeah.  It’s only rehearsal after all.  And it’s mid-scene.  And that would be awkward.

Besides, I know my boys.  As soon as they are released from duty, before I can even pull the faders down on the last strains of the CD soundtrack, my boys will be on me.  Off the stage, up the stairs to the balcony, full sprint to the sound board, through the air, landing on me.

“Hey Dad!  Dad!  Hey!  Did you see?”

To be honest, I don’t even know if it matters what words come out of my mouth.  But I learned something a long time ago that rang my bell, and it’s had a deep impact on me as a dad:

The way you react to your kids when they enter the room communicates volumes to them about what you think of them.

Let that hover in your mind a bit.  Now let it affect you.  Now let it change you.

My one job of the moment when being jumped upon by my two enthusiastic budding actors was to share in and multiply their enthusiasm.  My one job was to communicate JOY to them – joy that they are MY boys.  And affirmation.  They might not grow up to be actors, but they will grow up to be mine.

When I come home from work – my mind still revving – and my boys run out to say “hi” before I even make it out of the van… I’ve got to gear shift.  Work’s done.  Bills will wait.  I’m a dad.  I’m going to light up like the sun – let these boys know they mean the world to me.  How I react when they come into the room has far more impact on them than I will ever know.

That’s why I almost lost it when I saw this website today.  And you know what?  I’m not really a guy who likes to get on my soapbox to make proclaimations about what I’m AGAINST.  I’d much rather be known for the things/people/values that I am FOR.  But sometimes, I’ve gotta call ugly when I see it…

And now, if your ordinary kids just aren’t good enough… There’s Foto4Good[dot]com to the rescue.  Don’t just tell them they don’t measure up ONCE and be done with it!  No!  Now for $39.90 (plus shipping and handling) you can purchase a reminder of their ordinariness that will tell them over and over again what you really think!  From the “Foto4Good” website…

“If you are looking at transforming your ordinary photo into a Prize-Winning Pageant photo, you’ve come to the right place…”

I’ve also come to the right place if I want to throw up a little bit and start throwing punches.

* pausing to breathe deeply and choose my words carefully… *

I don’t have girls of my own.  But I do have four God-daughters.  This website feels dangerous when I think of those girls.  It’s poison.  And we do have five rowdy, raucus, wonderful boys.  They are all ordinary kids who are extraordinary to me.  And they are going to know it.

When you come home tonight, and your kids come into the room, you’ve been handed an opportunity.  What will you communicate to them?

                            

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“when your kids just aren’t good enough…” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

4 responses to when you’re kids just aren’t good enough…

  1. VERY true post–something that I’ve actually been thinking about lately. (although, needless to say, I don’t have my own kids.) I thrive when I hear remarks from my parents on how I did, or what they thought. It’s something that makes me feel so GOOD, and it makes me happy to be ME. No matter, what they’re proud of me, but I like that affirmation. I like that “You did a great job.” or, “That was my favorite part.”

    foto4good should’ve been named foto4BAD. That’s ridiculous–it takes REAL people and turns them into airbrushed phonies. And the worst part is, people’ve probably bought into that. The discontent that would radiate everytime you saw yourself like that would be terrible. Real or Fake? (so-called) Beautiful or (so-called) ugly? It’s reinforcing the world’s values and standards in order to fight against the 1st Peter 3:4 views. And it’s sad.

    Hannah

  2. Scary. And sad. As a mother of three daughters, I can tell you the necessity of teaching truth to them about beauty. This world screams at them that they “are never good enough.” They are shown images of how to dress, how they need to have their perfect hair, and flawless skin. And then the clothes…sigh….that would be another post. Let’s just say that we have had numerous discussions on clothing choices. It is made clear that exercising modesty reflects a level of respect for their male friends. And, that some day, their male friends will realize those choices of respect.

    I remember when Hannah was young and she was invited to a birthday party at “Libby Lu.” Now, I don’t know if that store is still there, but let’s just describe it as a “Hannah Montana” site on steroids. And what do the girls get there? A makeover. Teased and spiked hair, glitter, make-up, and a costume. And then…once you’re done…please meet the accessory wall. As I stood there picking Hannah up, at the sweet age of 8, I started to ponder the message of beauty she got. What was wrong with the jeans with rips, the piggy tails, and shirt smeared with paint? Was it okay to dress up to this degree? What do we talk about? I had no problem with my daughters playing dress-up, but this type of dress-up? Under 10? With full makeup and posing? It just didn’t sit well. It was much different than having a spa day…a bit of pampering…this was a full-fledge “let’s make you look ‘AMAZING’ on our terms” type of day. I think they were all going for the Hillary Duff look. She was the big one back then. Her and Lindsey Lohan.

    I do know that she got lots of looks as we left the Mall. Many of which I wasn’t too pleased with. I knew then that we were going to have to take a stance with the ideas of beauty. Where were we going to define beauty? From the world? Or from truth? So, starting slowly that day, we began to peel back the world’s lies of beauty.

    It’s sad for me to think of all the little girls whose moms send their pictures off to be photoshopped. Sad. Have you seen the Dove Real Beauty ad? It’s worth watching. They take you through the start of a shoot to the final product. There is practically no similarity between the initial person and the billboard.

    It is critical to have open communication with our kids. I tell them to always come to me, no matter what. So we talk. And I let my girls know how much I value them. We spend hours discussing the virtues of real beauty, of modesty, of living a life for Christ. In fact, the book “Raising Maidens of Virtue” by Stacey McDonald is an excellent starting point. And prayer. Always, always, always remember prayer. The world is dying to poison their minds with fallacies about beauty.

    My children need to know just how much they are valued. I’m so glad that you wrote this post. It’s so easy to go get sucked into the “important” and really miss the IMPORTANT. It’s funny, because I’ve just blogged about my ideal spring break day, and then later in the day had to turn around and blog about my real day. The truth? I had to surrender my plans for my kids…my amazing, ordinary, beautiful kids.

    • So well said, Rachel. There are different challenges that the girls face, and another set of lies that our boys will have to wrestle with. The world lies. But the Word of God is full of amazing promises about our IDENTITY in Jesus Christ. We are raising our boys to hopefully know that (A) they are NOT the center of the universe, and (B) they are fearfully and wonderfully made – and bought with the price above every price. Both and. Humble, and confident.

      God bless you Martins. We are so grateful for you and that you can share this life with us at our church, our homeschool stuff, our kiddos. God bless you always.