Part of my Saturday Solitude routine is eating breakfast at Jim’s every week. This week I happened to run into a young family in AWANA leadership who knows my kids. I’ve never really spoken to them before, and I’ve helped their son with his AWANA verses, so I stopped to say hello and then went on to my table. At the end of their meal the wife came to say good-bye and to tell me that she just wanted me to know that both she and her husband have noticed my kids are pretty amazing. The words she used were calm and well-behaved.
Of course, I thanked her and made a joke about I’m glad they see them when they are well-behaved, and I even agreed that my kids are rather calm. I don’t think I sounded too proud. But I was.
I interpreted her comment as, “Good job, Mom. You and your husband really have it going on – you’re doing great work.”
But that’s not what she said.
She was praising my kids, not me.
But I didn’t really get it until later on that afternoon when I went to the grocery store. There’s a little boy (age 9 or so) at AWANA who the Lord has really been putting on my heart. I can’t put my finger on what I like so much about this boy – perhaps it’s the way his face lights up when he sees me walk through the door (I’ve found a way to help him with his memory verses that works really well for him), perhaps it’s because he makes such good eye contact and treats everybody with respect, perhaps it’s just his enthusiasm for getting his memory verses checked off, or perhaps it’s the way he can explain each verse to me that he memorizes, even though understanding the verse is not required. Anyway, I ran into him and his mom at the store today, definitely a Divine Appointment. I introduced myself to her and told her how amazing her son is, how he treats people with respect, makes eye contact, is an enthusiastic learner. I could tell my words meant a lot to her. But you know what she did as she realized where I was coming from and that I was praising her boy? She turned to him, said his name, looked at him with such pure love and affection, and gave him affirmation and kudos for his behavior that had initiated all this. She was grinning from ear to ear, but she took none of that praise for herself – she gave it all to her boy. She was proud of him, not herself. And proud might not even be the right word here – she seemed genuinely happy, ecstatic, that he had behaved in such a stellar manner.
She gave me a hug and told her I had been a blessing, but I came away blessed. Blessed and reminded, once again, that it’s not always about me. Reminded children are pretty amazing beings separate and apart from their parents. Reminded that it is in giving Someone else the glory, we pass it on to the One who truly deserves it.