While it is true I am not a parent, I do know dozens. So when I saw this "Measure of Success" in Daily Grace, a devotion by the Women of the ELCA, I thought it might be helpful, even for non-parents. And that it was written by a former seminary professor made it seem even more helpful.
How does a parent measure success? If a child chooses to go to college or achieves prominence in a profession or in earning capacity, is that the parent’s ultimate measure of success? If we measure parenting in these ways, the flip side is cruel. How many non-successes could one have without being a total failure? Beside the big failures, there are the small daily ones: raising your voice, losing patience, spending too much time on work, missing opportunities to show them love.
Lutheran theology of sin and justification by grace alone carries a powerful message to all parents: We all are prone to fail in one way or another daily. We do have control over how we meet the challenge of parenting however, by resolving to do the best we can, every day. Success is a gift of pure grace. It may not be something we can claim, but it is something for which to be very thankful.
This message was adapted from “Parents and Success” by Kirsi Stjerna that appeared in the April 2004 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.Don’t we sometimes act as if another person’s success depends on our being perfect in how we teach or guide them? Or that somehow what and how they do points to whether or not we have succeeded or failed? We all want to do the best we can, especially with children, but we all will fall just a little short of the mark. In those moments/times, I am certainly thankful for God’s love and mercy. And thank you, Dr. Stjerna, for your words and reminder.