It was a rare occurrence. With every account caught up, I stood at the counter, mixing cookies.
Grinding oatmeal in the blender, I smiled, thinking of the boys’ delight. They’d be surprised, seeing the counters full, and they’d head straight for the milk.
Wasn’t it every child’s birthright, I thought, to be greeted with fresh chocolate-chip cookies just once in awhile when they got off the bus? Oh, it was, for nothing said, “I’m happy to see you,” and, “You are welcome here,” quite like that. In the cold, hard world of peer pressure and homework, warm cookies and a smiling mama went a long way in helping a fellow recover.
Childhood. Birthrights. Hopes, dreams and societal expectations. The words tangled yarn like in my mind, standing there in my kitchen.
Things down here were skewed. Did every generation swing like a pendulum, trying to correct the mistakes of the one before? From an era where verbal affirmation and “I love you’s” were rare, it had become the norm to reward token effort. To pin a ribbon on mediocrity. To applaud the slightest participation so as not to damage a psyche.
Conversely, there was tremendous pressure placed on children to excel in academics and sports. To know what they wanted to be as freshmen. To top out their SAT scores, earning top-notch scholarships. To be superstars in something. After all, wasn’t it a birthright, that kind of success?
But what if you were average? Not the best, not the worst? What if you weren’t the shiniest star, the smartest scholar? What if you didn’t dominate on court or field or (there was this) didn’t care to? What then?
In the grown-up world, did one’s life count for less if he wasn’t a CEO or if he did manual labor? If she cleaned houses for others or stayed home to raise babies? On the grand cosmic scale, if there was one, were there fewer points for an average life with simple achievements? For an ordinary existence, an unremarkable passing with nothing outstanding to mark what you’d done?
And your kids—what if they were average, too? Did it make you a failure as a mom or a dad? How did one measure, and who got to say?
As the mother of two young adults, I’ve come to realize how much pressure there is to raise superstar kids. To produce high-end scholars who go on to college, then successful careers. To have standout children with great resumes. And I’d like that and more for my sons.
Here, we believe in best effort, in striving for excellence. We teach perseverance and personal responsibility. We encourage their giftings and applaud their successes. But what if, in spite of all we’ve attempted (and all they’ve done, too), our kids are still average? Then what?
In thinking this over since the day I baked cookies, here’s what I’ve come to: I’d rather have average children devoted to a far-more-than-average God than to have geniuses, Olympians or the country’s next president. If my sons grow up to follow the Lord; to love Him with heart, mind, and soul, then that shall be their success. If they lead in their circles, whether large or quite small. If they influence others, advancing the kingdom, then that shall be our success, too.
There’s much I don’t know, but this one thing I do. That’s this, that God has a history of choosing the average. Of picking the least, the last, the unlikely to do the above-average things. To be movers and shakers, to do the impossible. That’s what’d I’d choose for my boys.
I know this as well. When the average is placed in the hands of God—when the “super” meets the “natural”—that’s when big things happen. Shepherd boys kill giants. Three hundred beat an army. Peter walks on water, and a harlot changes history. It’s supernatural when the “average” do that.
Now. What about you? Do you think you’re just average, unfit and unqualified? Do you feel you’ve not got what it takes? Think God cannot use you with your past, with your history? Well, good. Then you’re set for success.
Here’s why. It doesn’t depend on you. It’s that simple. All it takes is a “yes.” “Yes” to surrender. “Yes” to obedience. “Yes” to just doing His will.
When your life is a “yes,” then He does the rest. He empowers, enables. Gives wisdom, direction. Takes the loaves, takes the fish, and then comes the increase.
Do you have average children? Then give thanks and take heart. The wonderfully creative God we serve knows how to use our sons and daughters for His glory. He is able to strengthen their weaknesses and to bless what they do. Just as He does it for us.
We have the unspeakable privilege, you and I, of teaching these truths to the next generation. By placing our own average selves into His hands, by living the “yes,” He will give the increase, and the average shall become supernatural.