She knew which group she was in at an early age. She was one of the good kids. Every one told her so.
Her position was high ranking. She fulfilled the role in good standing and who wouldn’t want to maintain that? So her deeds, her testing, her trying, her explorations, were done in secret. She was careful about that because being good was a load to bear.
She envied the bad kids a bit. Wouldn’t it be nice to figure out who you were without the weight of the good title? Wouldn’t it be nice if no one gasped because, when you’re a bad kid, they expect it of you. Nothing to see there.
Bad kids are expected to be rude or disrespectful. They can let their mouth run wild, respond in anger or say what they really think in the broad daylight and no one would even flinch.
But the good kids? They don’t have that liberty. They are, you know, good kids.
Their dads are on the school board and the church board, their moms run the PTA. They have a last name of standing in the community, at their church. Even before they know how to tie their shoes kids begin to understand where they line up in the pecking order. They know which kids get in trouble at preschool. They know which kids answer all the questions right. At the earliest ages they begin to segregate mentally.
Good one, bad one, good one, bad one.
As immature as it sounds I shutter to think that we as adults don’t really help all that much. “Oh, that Johnson kid? Now he’s a good kid.” You know you’ve heard that, said that.
And the trouble is, the kids, they hear it too. So they fill the role. In the most insecure ages of their lives they cozy down in the spot that has been allotted to them. Good or bad, sin in public or in hiding, they know what expectations have been set for them in the world and they live it out as best as their immature bodies and minds are capable.
It’s been a few years since I was considered a kid, but I still remember who was who. I remember who was tagged with what and I watched how they fulfilled those roles.
Recently, a friend of mine was telling me about the weight of her own good kid struggles – the rebellion done in hiding, the exploration after she left home, the things she felt she couldn’t tell her own caring and loving parents because she was, you know, a good kid.
Processing all of this, I was struck recently by Sarah Mackenzie’s thoughts in her book Teaching From Rest. While aiming at home educators, her ideas most certainly have a broader application.
“He’s called me to be faithful, yet I’m determined to be successful…He’s calling me to be faithful and trust Him for the results, which may not look like what I was expecting. Faithfulness is showing up every day to do the work He has called us to. Whether or not things turn out in the end as I’m hoping they will…is not actually within my span of control. It’s not my assigned task. He isn’t asking me to succeed on the world’s terms. He’s asking me to faithfully do the work.”
Do you see it? Good kids, bad kids – those are the world’s terms. The results of our job as mothers may look nothing like we had planned. God has plans for the daughters (and sons!) we are raising that we know nothing about. It isn’t even our job to figure all of that out. We are simply called to be faithful. Faithful in doing the work of raising daughters of the King. Faithful in training them as best as we can, when the training comes easy as well as when it gets messy. But lets not pigeon hole them as good ones or bad ones, moms. Our kids, or any others. Let’s let them grow and learn freely, trip and fall safely and let us dare to love them faithfully, pointing their hearts toward Him, every chance we get.
I’m no longer interested in raising good kids, but I am forever committed to faithfully raising the beautiful and unique children that God has given me.