You may have heard that your children are your pride and joy. Isn’t that interesting that pride is placed in front of joy? The arrival of a child will change the focus of a family. Love blooms as we welcome and accommodate the wee addition, and responsibility will accrue as the baby’s needs grow. As parents understand the dynamics of their growing child, they naturally begin to plan that child’s future. Is that all that happens? Or, do the parents also plan their unrealized dreams for that child to accomplish?
I read an article recently by Dr. James Dobson, in which he illustrated the journey of children from babies to young adulthood as the flight pattern of released helium-filled balloons. The balloons were all about the same size, generally had the same amount of helium, and they were all released at the same time. The only difference at the release was that the balloons were colored differently in order to symbolize the social, physical, and mental differences of children. Even though the balloons rode the same air current, some did not clear the branches of trees before they popped. Others spread out to reach an average height before they disappeared from view. A few soared to the horizon.
Loving parents should be keenly aware of their child’s developing social, mental, and physical skills, and of their own pride. Your children are your legacy, but they are mostly your responsibility. It may well be that your child will never soar to the height of your expectations. Perhaps his or her height of achievement is like that of the balloon that plods three feet over the ground to snag in a bush. Such a child may wound your pride, make you shun the other parents who brag about their child getting all A’s in school, becoming the head cheerleader, or the class president. You know that the world would be a silly place if every child in it was titled “The Class President.”
Perhaps it would be better to move joy in front of pride in order to create a special bond of love with each of your children. Don’t lord over the accomplishments of the one who soared without balancing your praise for the one who drifts. With your encouragement, the drifter might drift elegantly. Your children do indeed reflect upon you. They may not soar, but if they reflect your boundless love for them, take pride in that.