Saint Francis De Sales said, “Do not wish to be anything other than what you are, and try to be that perfectly”.
How often we remind our children that they mustn’t succumb to peer pressure. We teach them to celebrate their uniqueness and to choose their actions according to their accountability before God, not man. We teach them that we must not change “who we are” to suit others, or to gain acceptance by a particular group of people.
This is all sound and good advice. But, do we follow it? Many of us are suspended in a sort of “self-barage” which perpetually compares ourselves to others, both in the Christian home life and secular environment; and thereby uses that comparison to judge our own worth and success.
When alone with our families, we are strong in our convictions, we are strong in our lifestyle decisions, and we are basically satisfied with the way we carry those things out each day.
However, as soon as we find ourselves in the company of others…our self-doubt begins.
We hear that so-and-so’s children arise each day at 5:30 a.m. to do the farm chores before their lessons, and we think “Oh my, I am letting the children sleep in far too long each morning”…or we hear that so-and-so’s husband comes home from work early three days a week to teach Chemistry and History, or coach a Little League team and we think, “Oh my, I must find a way to get my husband more involved “.
When we have contact with relatives or acquaintances whose children excel in academics, the ugly head of self-doubt rears its head even more.
As soon as we hear about the elaborate lab projects of our nieces and nephews, or so-and-so taking all AP classes and getting a full scholarship to an ivy league school, or playing as the starting forward on the AAA championship basketball team…we think, “Oh my, are my kids missing out…will they grow up regretting all of the things they didn’t get to do?”
The truth is: All of these thoughts are self-imposed…we are guilty of “saying one thing and doing another”…
Instead of rejoicing in others’ talents, gifts, or opinions…we take those things as a perceived threat to our own abilities within our vocation.
The truth is: Most likely, our children are perfectly content in our lifestyle…the issues (which we perceive) are our own issues caused by our own self-doubt.
Let us rejoice in God’s promise to “make up where we are lacking”…let us take courage in His Word that His “strength is made perfect in our weakness”….and let us believe that if He has called us to this life then it is the right one for us…and we need only to be who we are, and try to be that, perfectly.
Whatever your morning routine is,whatever form of education you’ve chosen for your children, however your spouse is involved (or not)….if you have centered your home in Christ Jesus…seeking to carry out His will wholeheartedly, then, rest assured that you are doing things exactly the right way for your family.
A periodic review of our “system” and our schools is a good thing…for we always have room for improvement and growth… but these thoughts are meant to encourage you to let the driving force of that review come from yours and your spouses unified communion with God…let your assessment arise from prayer, from discussion, and from study and discernment, not from what you think you see in others, or what you fear they think of you!
May God bless you and give you strength and courage to be who you are so that when you teach your children to avoid peer pressure, you can be satisfied that you are setting the proper example for them to follow.
Copyright 2012 Judy Dudich