From Chris Maxwell’s book Pause for Moms.
A mother “graded” her family at the end of each day. On the refrigerator she would place letter grades each night for each child—all based on performance of duties and responsibilities and assignments. And also a grade for her husband. Each night.
In our conversations she talked about excellence. She didn’t want her husband to be a loser like her dad—she knew he had impending excellence but also knew he wasn’t motivated enough within himself to reach that potential. Since she loved him so much what else should she do? Her love would lead him toward excellence. It played out by seeing grades in their kitchen every day. Before going to bed, she graded him.
She saw such great potential in their children, too. A handsome, gifted, talented son. A beautiful, brilliant, strong daughter. Her job, of course, was to help them reach their potential. God wanted excellence. God wanted success. God wanted great accomplishments, great grades, great everything on every day in every way. During our dialogue, we were able to eventually address her. Not her husband falling short of his potential and making bad scores night after night. Not her daughter gaining too much weight or receiving poor grades in school (A-is a poor grade?). Not her son failing to work hard enough on his swing to improve his batting average or finish that piano rehearsal early enough to run through it one more time.
We addressed her. Her inner self. Her true reasons for seeking such perfection in those she loves.
We talked about what motivated her to “grade” others. We talked about her basis for such scores and rankings. We talked about how she grades herself and how it all started.
That place—where it all started—took us way back in time.
That place—where it all started—was still a living place in her inner self.
That place—where it all started—continued controlling her view of herself, her desire to shove others toward excellence. Her church, her community involvement, her children’s teachers, her pastor, her love life. Everything toward excellence.
Over time, we visited those places of her past. Over time, we helped her say goodbye to those places so they would not longer control her present or future, herself or her family, her inner silence and her comments to the world.
Counseling redirected her thoughts. She was able to begin to notice deep causes for her never-good-enough mindset.
So, where are you as you glance at your fridge? Maybe you don’t really leave it in words or grades, but what deep pain, internal feelings of failure, assurance of rejection, keep you from receiving the love of your Creator? And, possibly keep you from sending that love to your family?
Consider investing in someone helping to investigate your life. Consider pursuing help in learning how to care for you.