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When Your Child Doesn’t Get the Award, Part 2

When Your Child Doesn’t Get the Award, Part 2

Our home has been a flurry of activity for the last several weeks. We lead a busy life year-round, but as school wraps up, our calendar is even more full than normal. A highlight of this season was our kids’ project fair and awards dinner.

We prepared for weeks and greeted the evening with eager anticipation. During the ceremony, teachers handed out awards and praised the achievement of their top pupils. An emcee read student choice awards for such categories as “happy-go-lucky,” “most influential among classmates” and “most likely to become president.”

Our daughter received three awards that night. Our son received none.

As we’ve processed the joy and pain of that event, we have had opportunities to discuss some important life lessons. This type of situation undoubtedly occurs in every home where there’s more than one child. How can we prepare our children for both success and disappointment?

  • “I’d Choose You”

When I was young, my mom read a book to me entitled I’d Choose You, by John Trent. In this book, a mother elephant describes several scenarios in which she would choose her own child over any other child, no matter who performed best.

I long for my kids to possess a deep confidence that even if someone performs better than they do, I would still choose them – simply because they’re mine. Their actions and achievements don’t define them or give them their value. They are loved and treasured, just as they are.

  • Rejoice with those who rejoice

Our kids enjoy cheering on their friends, whether it’s an awards ceremony or a swim meet. It’s fun to watch the success of those we love.

It can be difficult to rejoice, however when someone else’s triumph means our loss. Choosing to rejoice in our friends’ or siblings’ achievements develops humility and strengthens friendships.

  • Define true success

Last year a teacher pulled me aside to talk about a recent incident in P.E. One of the boys was struggling with an activity. Our son noticed and took it upon himself to help this boy, staying by his side as they played the game.

Hearing this brought happy tears to my eyes. I rejoiced in our son’s compassion displayed that day.

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6b NIV). God looks at our kids’ hearts. He values faith and love. He honors integrity and good character. Our kids need to know we do, too.

If we look to good grades as the measure of success, we may be setting our children up for future problems. Some may be tempted to cheat their way to a good report card. Others may define themselves by their scores – being devastated by a poor grade or conceited by good ones.

Instead our kids need to know, while their grades matter and we’ll celebrate good ones together, they exist mainly to show us where there’s room for improvement. A poor grade may indicate the need to devote extra time to a subject or to approach it from a different perspective. It may point out room for personal growth in diligence, perseverance or attentiveness. Sometimes, it can even alert us to a possible learning difficulty or disorder.

True success is measured, not by an award or report card, but by what’s in the heart.

As school wraps up and summer gets underway, let’s take every opportunity to affirm our children. Let’s instruct them in true success, in the beauty of faith and in the value of integrity. The worth of these things will last for eternity.

By: Meredith Mills currently resides in the South with her family of five, though she calls Northern California home. She is passionate about knowing the real Jesus and finding our identity in Him. She blogs at

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