There is a common weakness I've witnessed among families who strive for high standards (of which I hope I am one). It glares out quite often and sometimes clouds out all the "good choices" with it putrid stench. I've seen it in myself. I've seen it in my children. I've seen it in those around me. Do you know what I'm talking about? It's that ugly, ugly thing called PRIDE.
We somehow forget that every blessing we receive, including the ability to make wise choices, is ALL only Gods grace. It amazes me how easy it is to feel "better" than someone else when I should be on my face in view of my unworthiness.
Pride is in direct opposition to love. While pride is completely inward focused, love looks out to others and places their highest good above our own desires. As I raise my girls, this is one of the most critical things I want them to grasp. And while they will have to deal with their own prideful hearts before the Lord, I play a great part in how I teach them to think.
Every day we are presented with questions by our children. "Mommy, why didn't he get a spanking?", "Mommy, why don't we go to school like our neighbor does?", Mommy, why do they believe in Santa Clause?", "Mommy, why does she have a baby if she's not married?". And then we have the choice. The choice to instill a spirit of love or a spirit of pride.
Make sure that these conversations are not led to push our own agendas. Every one of these conversations provide a precious opportunity to teach some truth about God. For example, pride says, " Well, Honey, public school is a bad place and we would never choose to send you there because we love you. Some parents just don't care about their children. Kids who go to public school act very badly and so we don't want you to be around them." (I've heard this conversation before.) Love says, "As parents we want to make the best choice for you that we can. God has given us the responsibility to be YOUR parents and we believe He wants us to be responsible for your training. The public schools have rules that don't honor God so we need to be sure that we are very loving to our neighbor so that she can see Jesus in us." This conversation is obviously miles longer, but the focus needs to be on God's heart, not our own righteousness.
As we train our young children to serve the Lord, one obvious thing we need to train them in is service. Beware, BEWARE, BEWARE of raising "spotlight servants". Those who are eager and ravenous to serve when in return they will receive praise and admiration, but when the glory has disappeared, so have they.
Cultivate love. Cheesy as it may sound, love really is the answer! It's what Jesus commanded us with utmost importance. Love Him. Love others. The ugly head of pride is squashed when love takes over. Be very vigilant, and pray for my vigilance as we seek to build a heart of love in our children.