The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Over-Achiever

We are so proud of our Gracie-girl, who finished her entire Sparks book last week at AWANA.

(If that sentence sounds foreign to you, I’m sorry! AWANA is a program for children that our church participates in every Wednesday. It focuses on Scripture memorization, and each student gets a book with verses to memorize. A book should typically take approximately one school year to complete.)

I obviously knew she was going to complete the book, since we work together on the memorization. But what I was most excited about was the review. I was expecting her to take the rest of the year to go back through the book and review the verses. Uhm, nope. She did ALL of the review verses the same night she finished the book!

That means she has really committed the verses to long-term memory. How exciting!

Confession time…(It sounds like a rabbit trail, but stick with me here.)

In elementary school, I was a chubby kid who wasn’t good at sports or anything in particular. I didn’t think all that much of myself, and I certainly didn’t have a healthy view of myself as a child of God. So, I thrived on accomplishments.

The one thing I did have going for me was that I was a good student.

As I grew older, I strove for good grades and was probably considered a “teacher’s pet.” (Okay, okay, I was actually voted “Teacher’s Pet” in our senior class mock elections.) I ended up being the valedictorian of my small public school class. You can imagine what wonders that did for my self-esteem.

But you can also imagine what happened to my rickety self-image when I got to college and wasn’t the smartest girl in the hall, and I couldn’t always get an A+ on every assignment. If I couldn’t even achieve perfect student status, what was I worth?

Obviously, I had to somehow form a healthy view of myself through Biblical truth – that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, made in the image of God, and I am His precious child (no matter how much I achieve, or don’t achieve). I truly can’t remember how that happened. It definitely wasn’t a one-time change, but a change of heart occurring over time. I’m pretty sure motherhood helped shape me tremendously.

Okay, now I am on a rabbit trail.

Anywho, here is my concern. Grace is so much like me. She is a great student. She gets SO excited when she does well in school.

And I’m sure all of that is pretty “normal.”

But how do I help shape her view of herself in a healthy, Biblical way? How do I help her know that her value is in her status as a daughter of God, not in her grades? What can I do to help her know that truth from a young age?

Anyone willing to weigh in here?

5 Comments

  1. Congrats, Gracie!! What a smart little girl!! I will take a stab at your question and offer a suggestion… Perhaps you can try it out on Grace, and let me know how it works — as I know I’ll be teaching Penelope the same thing in a few years 🙂 Going back to your story… How did you learn what your position was in Christ? You learned because you were put in a situation where you weren’t the best at everything. You were able to learn from others and appreciate not being on top all the time. I wonder if this sort of environment would be helpful for her too. Perhaps getting her involved in a sports team, or a dance class or something else that isn’t school related. A new setting where she can appreciate others being on top and learning that she doesn’t HAVE to be first at , everything. It is a difficult lesson to learn at any age and I’m sure something that will be difficult to teach… perhaps reality will just have to teach and you can facilitate the discussion. 🙂

  2. Good communication about it is awesome. Tell her your story, and how God helped you deal with it. There are things my wife and I wish we’d avoided or done differently when we were young, so we tell our girls about it. They understand surprisingly quickly. It seems to be easier to deal with those kinds of things in the beginning, nipping things in the bud as it were.

  3. I find that praising godly behavior, like speaking gently with siblings, choosing to be patient when she’d rather not, and self directed discipline (like making her bed without being asked or looking for ways that she can help another family member) leads to building a heart for God!

    I definitely think that Grace’s AWANA accomplishment needs to be celebrated, but I believe that true character development (lasting impacts) are in the small moments of life, where affirmation of what is pleasing to God is celebrated!

  4. Hi Lacey,

    First, you were a darling little girl just the way you were! You may try for Grace he Gigi, God’s Little Princess books. We don’t have them yet, but I know they teach little girls who they really belong to in this world! They are by Sheila Walsh. Enjoy!

  5. Thank you for your suggestions, everyone! (And Amy – since you’re the only one that commented who actually knew me as a chubby kid – thank you for thinking I was darling!) I realize that helping Grace (and all our kids) form a correct self-image is going to be a process, and one that involves all areas of her life. I think this is one of those times I’m worried about passing along my faults, and I want to nip it in the bud. So, thank you! I think all of your suggestions are worthwhile!

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