Average: a level that is typical of a group, class, or series : a middle point between extremes.
The above is “average” as defined in the Webster dictionary. Nothing extraordinary. A simple word. Why then do we as a culture, as parents, gasp at the very utterance of the word? Why has “average” become something negative, looked down upon? Why this drive to excellence-not just for ourselves, but for our children? There is this never ending push, striving for excellence. One can no longer just play ball in the backyard and make the school team. One can no longer take instrument lessons from the sweet lady down the street and expect an opportunity in the school orchestra or a chance to obtain a scholarship. One can no longer take “regular” classes at school and even dream of getting into the best college and receive financial aide. Everything, everything seems to be about achieving excellence, being accelerated. A 4.0 GPA is to be frowned upon. Now we demand or expect a 5.6 GPA and our 18 year old children to enter college as Sophomores!
What happened to average? Average is really all I want. It is perfectly acceptable to me. Especially as a parent. I would love to think my kids are “a middle point between extremes”. I want my children to be more focused on WHO they are, than WHAT they are.
As I pondered this thought, that average is perfectly acceptable, I turned to scripture. What does God expect of us? No place in scripture does God ask for excellence. Not one place in scripture does God say we are to perform at a higher standard than everyone else. Quite the contrary. Repeatedly in scripture God says we are to be humble, “the least of these shall inherit”, and the last shall be first. He told us the rich man was not greater than the widow who gave her one mite. God didn’t call men of wealth or position or of education to be a part of the inner circle to walk with His Son on this earth. And the few who did have some means or success in their “careers” He asked to walk away from it all. God did not send His Son to be born in a five star resort, a midst the royalty of the day. He chose a young girl, of little means, to bare His son. He sent her on a donkey to a small village town, to give birth to her son in a stable, surrounded by sheep, goats and donkeys.
I think average is perfectly acceptable to God. I believe He wants me and my children to do everything we do to the best of our abilities and “as for Him”. But, I still think He finds average perfectly acceptable, in fact desired. God doesn’t want me striving for earthly success. He doesn’t want me to strive for position or wealth. God wants me to strive for Him. He asks that I yearn for Him, for wisdom. He asks that I earnestly seek Him. He asks that I persevere and run the race. He doesn’t ask me to win the race. He just asks that I run it and I run it with my eyes on Him.
That is all I want of and for my children. I want them to be willing to spend more time seeking God than they spend seeking straight A’s. I want them loving Him with their whole beings-heart, soul and mind (Matthew 23:37). Secondly, I want them to allow that love to spill over into others (Matthew 23:38).
Does this mean I wont’ challenge my children? Does this mean a C average in school is all I expect? No. I expect them to work hard, to give everything they do their best effort. But, if the choice is between making the team only if they invest 5-6 hours per week in expensive, private coaching, the answer is “NO.” If taking AP and college concurrent courses means they can’t attend Wednesday night worship, work to sacrifice and save for a mission trip, or engage in missions in their community, then the AP and college concurrent courses won’t make the cut in our house. Average will be just fine.
When I stand, when they stand, before Christ at the judgement seat and are asked, “Did you love me? Did you really love me?” I want to, I want them to, be able to say, “Yes, Lord I loved you above all else. I loved you so much your loved spilled over into others and they too learned to love you.”
More than ever I am convinced it is OK for me to accept average. I challenge you to accept average. What are you and/or your children missing out on as you chase after excellence/success as defined by the world? Will it matter when you die? Does it honor God? Is it a means of loving Him, worshiping Him? If not, could you give it up and refocus those monies, time and energy on Him?
Average-it’s perfectly acceptable.