Day 7 of the Taming the Tongue book deals with the Boasting Tongue.
When we are small, boasting is a way of making us feel bigger. The classic playground claim, "my dad is bigger than your dad" gives way to boasting about our own accomplishments and achievements. Somewhere along the line as an adult we come full circle and become less inclined to boast about our own successes and shift to boasting about accomplishments of those close to us once more.
For those of us with children this becomes a huge struggle to control. A man I know tells a story about when he was a child that he received some kind of award or something in school. Because his mother was a typical mom, she told everyone she knew about it. They lived in a small expatriate community overseas and it seemed that everyone he knew had heard about the award from his mom. He vowed to never tell her anything like that again. When his parents showed up to celebrate his college graduation years later they had no idea, until he received it, that he was the recipient of a BIG DEAL award, because he had kept his vow.
As a mom, I can understand how his mother felt and why she told everyone about her son. We want to share our joy in our children's accomplishments. Yet, here in Northern Virginia where education is one of our gods, the push to make children into high achievers is relentless. I wonder whether we are sharing joy in our children's accomplishments or showing what great parents we are? Are we taking credit for what God has gifted our children with?
I struggle sometimes with this admonishment to not engage in such behavior. Fortunately, two of my friends at our Bible Study Leaders Group have modeled God's admonishment for me. They both have incredibly gifted children. One child swam in the summer Olympics last year. The other scored so high on standardized tests as a small child that the likes of MIT and Rensselaer pursued him from a very early age. Both of these mothers have mastered the ability to share what's going on in these kids' lives only when asked. They both model grace and humility and an understanding that although their children have worked very hard with what God gave them, God did give them the talents. Good genetics and encouraging backgrounds enhance, but the meat of it comes from God. They've also shared how that level of gift can create difficulties as well.
Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1 Corinthian 1:31
1 Corinthian 1:31
This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, Jeremiah 9:23