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Parenting Based on Performance…or Not!

Campers having fun

It sounds ridiculous to think we would reward our children with love because a “scoreboard” reflects a positive performance, but in her 25 years of child raising Alice knows how easy this trap can be. What happens when the performance isn’t positive? Alice points us to some truth…


We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19


We won … yea!  We lost … boo!  That’s been our household for the past fifteen years raising three daughters in the world of athletics.  In the world’s eye, each of them have succeeded on a pretty large platform. 

But parenting through the highs and lows of competitive performance has been just that … a lot of highs and lows.  So how do we keep the “scoreboard” of life from influencing the love we show our children? 

Let’s remember a few truths:

  1.  As believers, we are a child of God.  “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are.” 1 John 3:1a.  Who we are is much more important than what we do.  Our performance will always be up and down, but our identity as children of God is not based on our performance.  God accepts us because He is a God of lavish love.
  2. As believers, God’s grace is sufficient.  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9.   The Daisy Theology of “He loves me, He loves me not” has no wiggle room to sneak into God’s perfect theology.  God fully and totally accepts us, in Christ (Eph 1:6).  God sees us in a way that’s beyond our performance.  God’s grace brings freedom to perform without fear of failure.  And, ironically, when we see how He sees us, our performance improves, because we live in response to the grace and love that He’s already shown.  We draw near to Him, and that affects us for the good.

Back to parenting.

Teach them truth.  They are a child of God regardless of what they do and how well they do it.  They are loved by a God Who grants amazing grace regardless of how many times they fail or mess up. 

As parents, we wear the coach’s hat, the referee jersey and the cheerleading uniform all at the same time.  Some days are easier than others to keep the roles balanced, but sometimes we blow a whistle or call a timeout unnecessarily when the player is not performing.  That’s when we need to take a deep breath and be reminded whose team we play on.

When we tap into God’s perfect love, we have access to parent out of the same love which has no bearing on a game winning shot!

Camper Corner

We play for a team where the coach loved us before He saw us play! (1 John 4:19)  His love is not scored … there is no winning or losing based on our performance.  His love has no time-outs … His grace is sufficient no matter how bad we “play”.  His love has no game-ending buzzer … His love is never ending! How can this affect your decisions to try things and really go for it this week?

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