childgeniusI remember when my oldest son played Little League Baseball. Maybe it’s because I’m pretty much a non-jock (though I did run track and cross country in high school), but I found it maddening. The way some of those dads screamed at (and demeaned) their kids was insane. I wanted to tell them so many times “If baseball means this much to you, maybe you should go to the local minor league team and try out.” They were living out their sports fantasies through their kids and it was repulsive.

Last night, I saw the insanity ramped up a few hundred notches. I watched a show about kid geniuses and it was like I was right back in the bleachers. It’s a reality show where these kids compete for a $100,000 scholarship. The kids were fine, a little full of themselves, but if I was in the top .1 percentile in the nation humility might be hard to come by for me too. That’s right, these kids have IQs higher than 99.9% of the population. What was frightening was the parents. From the mom trying desperately to prove by her example every negative stereotype of her community (she’s a whole fleet of helicopter parents all rolled into one) berating her child to a little relaxation time (top .1%, remember???), to the Christian parents who seem to pressure their child in an upcoming episode to tell the judges he doesn’t believe in the big bang theory (cause Evangelism 101 is to confront the most controversial issue, answering a question no one has asked) to the mother who lamented that her son has to spend too much time studying for his college classes to prepare for this competition. Mind you her son in the college classes is ten! That’s right, ten years old and in college, not fourth grade, college. What will be enough for these parents? One kid fully expects to have his phD before he has his driver’s license. Talk about pressure.

The one afforementioned mom, while berating her son for taking a few hours off from studying, kept saying this is one hundred thousand dollars. No it’s not, it’s a hundred thousand dollar scholarship. I know a hundred grand is a lot of money, but for a kid who is 8 years old whose I.Q. is in the top .1 percentile, how many free rides do you think he will be offered? Plus with a brain like that, his earning potential is virtually unlimited if he doesn’t “flame-out” from all the pressure.

And that’s when it hit me. The pressure these kids are under is what will mess them up. They are gifted beyond belief, but will they get crushed under the pressure of people who tell them nothing they do is good enough?

How many of us do the same thing to ourselves though? I know I can get caught in the trap of feeling like nothing I do is ever good enough. How about you? Maybe you had a hard time living up to your parent’s expectations. Maybe you have a hard time living up to your own. In our faith, the danger comes when we ascribe these pressures to God. How many times do you spend your time trying to be good enough for God? That’s not what He asked for, you know that, right? God loves you right where you are and He wants to guide you to where He knows you can be. You don’t have to be good enough for Him (truth be known, you never will be). Thankfully it’s not about how good you are (though we should live a life that follows and honors Him), it’s about how good He is.

He loves you. Trust Him. The pressure is off.

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