My son Christian loves basketball and played varsity all four years of high school. Throughout each season, he was respected for his ability to lead the team, for his calmness on the floor, and for his quick thinking.
Although Christian was an incredible player, he is not aggressive by nature. So he was never known for strength and drive. These weak areas cost him playing time and made him feel like he was failing his coach.
I always told Christian, “You played your best; be proud of that.” To me, bravery was showing up to each practice and each game, even when he felt like quitting.
THE Best vs. Your Best
As a parent of an athlete, I wanted my child to succeed. I was partial to my own kid; that’s just natural. It was hard to resist all the hype of athletics. As a single mom working two jobs, I struggled to keep up with all the “parent” clubs around sports and volunteering. I too, had to work at being my best, rather than run for “BEST mom of the year award.” I wanted to stay on the good side of all the other parents by being involved in all the fundraisers and every single volunteer event.
But even as an adult, I had to remind myself, to BE my best and feel proud of that. I could not be at all events. As tempting as it was to just over-commit, I would have driven not only myself crazy but my entire family, all for the sake of somehow making a difference for my son. But no amount of my DOING was going to change his playing time one bit.
My son knew with all his heart two things: First, he knew that I was his biggest fan. Second, he knew that I was working as hard as he was toward success. My best was good enough, even when that meant missing a game because I was working or saying no to that new pair of shoes everyone else had because I did not have the income to pay the price.
It was okay to BE where we were because it was our best on that given day. I had to be brave when he was upset that he could not have what he wanted. I had to step over those feelings of inadequacy and know it was okay to just BE where I was.
BEING vs. DOING
On those occasions when I failed at BEING and fell into DOING, I found myself complaining, resentful, and tired. DOING is important; we all need to do our part in supporting the programs our kids benefit from. But we must keep our motivation for DOING in check. When I needed to say “no” but said “yes” because I didn’t want to disappoint people, I was DOING. When I said “yes” because I honestly knew the person needed help, and I was able to meet the call, I was BEING: helpful, freely giving.
So give yourself grace – as a parent, athlete, or wherever life finds you – to be satisfied with your best. BE engaged in what you are doing and know that your best is good enough to the One who counts the most, your Heavenly Father. While DOING can produce resentment if done for the wrong reasons, BEING produces gratitude.
Today, don’t worry about DOING the best or even better than anyone else. Focus on BEING your best.
How comfortable are you with the idea of BEING your best rather than trying to DO the best? How are (or aren’t) you modeling this for your child(ren)?
My bad mom friend and author of today’s Bad Mom Monday challenge is Tanja Bass. Tanja lives, works, and parents in Oregon where she has spent all but three years of her life. She has three children — who now must be referred to as “young people” — ages 15,18, and 22. Tanja enjoys speaking, writing and encouraging others. She could tell you that her journey of life has been one of foster care, adoption & divorce, but she’d far rather tell you how God is changing her story with His redeeming grace!