I sat on my kitchen counter feeling overwhelmed and unsure of my next move. I just finished telling my husband about my conversation with Weston’s teacher.
Weston is my middle son. He is thirteen and he is small for his age. At the age of two, his doctor wanted him to get tested for a growth deficiency but decided against it, resolving that it was probably genetics.
People constantly notice and comment on his height, “How old is your son? Eleven?”
When he was in kindergarten his principal suggested we hold him back because he was smaller than everyone in his class.
He’s been cut from the football team because he was too small and didn’t weigh enough to play with the other players.
He tried wrestling and because there’s a weight class, he was put into groups with kids several years younger than him.
If you want to get technical, Weston is a victim of his short stature. It has affected him every year in school and robbed him of opportunities not meant for small kids.
One day, I got a call from the school and his principal was on the other end of the line. “We suggest you consider holding Weston back another year. We’re concerned because he’s smaller than all of the kids in his class.”
Small? So, nothing to do with academics?
I was conflicted. I cried for a few hours, unsure of the decision that needed to be made. My husband expressed extreme opposition to hold Weston back. He didn’t want him growing up thinking that his height is what determined his success.
We prayed about it together that night, and he ultimately left me to make the decision because of my teaching background.
I felt an extreme amount of pressure. The people I was getting advice from were professionals in their field. They had expectations from an educational standpoint and they knew better. Didn’t they?
Trust me, I’ve seen Weston cry about his height several times. If I could help him grow an inch or two, I would’ve done it by now.
Here’s the hard part about all of this: what do we do when the expectations of society put pressure on us as moms? What do we teach our children in those moments; to become a victim of their deficiency or use it as an opportunity for something greater?
There are societal expectations we will have to deal with; how well our kids should perform academically; how they fare in sports compared to other kids. And in some instances, what they look like.
We will feel the pressure to keep up with other moms whose kids seem to be rising to the standards of all that is culturally acceptable. And when that happens, we want to “fix” our kids. And when we begin to “fix” our kids, our expectations become unreasonable.
So, how do we ignore the pressures of those around us? How do we maintain the expectations of our children based on what’s normal for them? And how do we prove to our kids they are just as capable even if they don’t measure up to the standards of “normal”?
A Comforting Truth
God will never see our children as victims of their deficiencies. How do I know?
In Exodus, God called Moses to do something great. Moses had a speech deficiency. He told God he could not follow the plan because of it. But God did not fix Moses’ speech problem. Instead, he used Moses in spite of it.
He would not allow Moses to become a victim, but instead He made him victorious … speech impediment and all.
In Judges, God wanted to use Gideon to defeat his enemies. Gideon was the least in his family and probably known as a coward. He told God as much when God came knocking on his door. But God wouldn’t allow Gideon to become a victim of his circumstances. Instead, He used him mightily to show His great power.
As moms, we cannot allow our children to think of themselves as the victim of their deficiencies. The world will say they are. The world will hold them back, exclude them, and say it’s all because they don’t measure up.
The Lord had to remind me of this with Weston.
After Dean and I prayed we’d make the right decision for Weston, I woke up the next morning with the answer in my heart before I flopped out of bed.
I knew I couldn’t hold Weston back. Holding him back in kindergarten was the same as holding him back in life. I would be telling him he didn’t measure up. I wasn’t going to do that. He had all he needed academically. He would not become a victim of his short stature.
To Whom Do They Belong?
Our kids belong to the Lord. In 1 Samuel, we read about Hannah who dedicated her first son to the Lord. Dedicate means “to devote to a specific purpose.” Doesn’t that apply so well to motherhood?
When each of my boys were born, we dedicated them to the Lord. I promised to teach them, lead them, and speak life into them.
That commitment is oftentimes tested. When I hear the expectations of what the world says they should be whispered into my ear, I start to feel the pressure. It is then the Lord asks me a question … “To whom do they belong?”
You see, my friend, God won’t let you forget who those babies belong to. Yes, you are their mom, but He has great plans for them. He will never let us forget that.
You keep speaking life into them. Cheer them on as they grow up and remember that God uses those things that don’t measure up to the world’s standards for a greater purpose.
The Greatest Influence
Do you know you are the greatest influence in your child’s life?
Statistics prove that moms are the greatest influence in their children’s lives. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else says. What matters is what you say … and what you do to prove your words are true.
Our kids will feel the pressure of what everyone expects of them. They will notice when they’re different and they will feel like they’re not good enough. But that’s when we step in.
As moms, our job is to believe in our kids when no one else does. Our job is to convince them they can do anything, become anyone, no matter what they believe of themselves. We are their greatest cheerleader, and most passionate defender.
If you feel overwhelmed by the expectations of the world, I want to remind you how much influence you have as a mom. I challenge you today to rededicate your children to the Lord and commit your ways as a mother to Him. He will honor it, and He will never fail you when you don’t know which direction to take when the standards of the world weigh heavily on your shoulders.
God will make our children victorious. Don’t worry about the deficiencies. We all have them, but God knows how to use them for His glory and He makes them a part of His plan.
I want to end this post today by sharing with you that my Weston, or Westie Bug as we call him, is coming to terms with his growth deficiency. He loves God’s Word and defends truth like no thirteen-year old I know.
I am proud to watch him grow in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man. I pray the same for your children, my friend.
Looking for some more motherhood talk? Check out my recent post, The Mommy Rut.