Quieting The Inner Critic
As I sat and listened to each of the children read their short stories, I was amazed. These kids had excellent writing skills. It didn’t take long for my enjoyment and wonder to turn to negativity as my inner critic emerged. “My kids can’t write like that,” I thought. “I must be a failure.” Oh, how quickly the enemy creeps in!
Leaving our homeschool co-op that day, I was filled with doubt. My kids don’t write like those other kids, and most of those kids were younger. My children detest writing. I must be doing something wrong. Regretfully, this uneasy feeling lingered for several days. I even considered looking for a new curriculum or researching ideas on how to improve writing skills, but I stopped myself. What was I doing? I was comparing my kids to other kids. Is that what I’m called to do? No! I was ignoring the God-given gifts of my children and placing more importance on the gifts of others. Yikes! A prayer for forgiveness was needed.
Imposing precedence to different skills contrasts sharply with God’s Word. Romans 12:6-8 is clear.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Who am I to think that the gift of writing is more important than any other gift? Do my children have gifts? Of course they do. My son recently built me a computer from a pile of parts. Is that a skill? Yes. Did I teach him that? No, but I did teach him how to perform research and pursue his interests. I have no doubt that he will be able to achieve anything that God directs him to do. I have not failed him just because he is not a skilled writer.
Please don’t fall into the trap that I did. Your children are unique. Everyone has different gifts and displays them in his own way. By all means, teach your kids the basic skills that they need at each grade level, but don’t compare them to others. An aspiring writer is no more important than a joyful servant. Encourage your children’s gifts and pray that they will use them wisely. Let go of comparison and let God lead the way.
Heidi Kinney is a freelance writer and editor. Her background includes professional teaching in the area of mathematics, as well as writing and editing for several educational publishers. She has been homeschooling her children since 2007. She shares homeschool resources and lessons on her website, SharedLessons.org.