Unhealthy Competition

"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all" (Mark 10:44).

I never encouraged competition between my four children while homeschooling, but it happened anyway. In fact, I only wanted my children to give their best each day and suggested forgetting grades altogether. However, their need to rate themselves against each other and other children their age dictated a request for a report card. Their human need to know where they were in the scheme of things filtered its way into their mindset and manifested itself during schoolwork. They simply had to know if they were smarter or better in a particular subject than their siblings or someone else.

Christ's disciples weren't any different. When following Jesus on Earth, a great debate arose among them. Wanting to know where they fit into the future scheme of things, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, foolishly asked Jesus if they could sit on either side of Him in heaven (Mark 10:37). Hearing this request, the other ten disciples became indignant, and Jesus took the opportunity to teach them all a valuable lesson in servanthood.

Are you comparing your homeschooling performance to other families, or are you simply giving your best and expecting the same from your children? God has uniquely designed your family with gifts and abilities, and your success in homeschooling isn't dictated by what other families are doing. God only expects you to seek His guidance and obey Him, so He can show you how to let go of unhealthy competition and focus on serving others instead.

Father, forgive me for trying to compete with the homeschool down the street. Teach me to listen to the Holy Spirit and depend on the truths of Your Word as I homeschool each day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Comments(11 comments)


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LAURA G 03/29/2009 04:02:10

Thank you for each and every "Homeschool Devotional I recieve each day! I thank the Lord that His sweet Spirit so softly speaks to me through them and ministers to me as I live and walk and homeschool our precious son.Bless you all in your devoted love to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

JENNIFER K 03/28/2011 03:13:59

What a wonderful reminder! I often catch myself compareing my homeschooling to others and I feel that I fall short. I realize that these feelings are only the devil trying to make me feel inadequate so that I can give in and follow the world. Thank you for once again reminding me that the world's way is not God's way. Compareing ourselves to others is not important...God just wants OUR personal best!

PAMELA A 03/28/2011 04:09:14

Thank you so much for reminding me of this. I love these devotionals. It is crazy how just when I need a little nudge - they are there for me.

ELAINE P 03/28/2011 06:28:59

This devotional speaks to me since this is my first year of home schooling and I am always doubtful and second guessing myself. I do not give my children's work "grades" (although I suppose I should). If they understand the subject we move on and if not we work there until they do. I use comments on their work like" awesome, great job", etc. rather than grades.Thankfully they are not competitive with each others accomplishments. I love these daily devotionals they speak to us home school families so well.

NICOLE O 03/28/2011 09:36:29

my best friend bought me the \"daily focus\" book for Christmas. it has been a joy and i am often touched by the stories in it. today was like a fresh wind of inspiration! i am the 2nd in our family to home school,but my step-sister( the 1st) lives 8-10 hours away. we are the only family in our church that homeschools so sometimes you start to look outward for comparison and validation. many times well intentioned people say hurtful things that the enemy will use to cast a seed of doubt! today\'s devotion reminds us that we are to look upward where our help comes from.

TINETTE D 03/28/2011 12:12:27

Amen. Whatever we do, we do wholeheartedly as unto the Lord, not man. It\'s all about Him. Excellence for Him. Our God deserves nothing less but our best. And all this, for His name\'s sake, for His glory alone. God bless!

KATHY S 03/28/2012 05:48:29

I don\'t give out grades either. If my son understands it we move on, if not we redo until we get it. The \"Excellent Job\", or \"Good work\" seems to be a better fot for us. I don\'t like the whole competition thing. That\'s just my opinion. I have friends who obsess over their childrens grades, sport activities. My one friend says she actually \"lives\" through her kids in the sport area, the only issueI have with that is, I wonder how much the kids like the sport ? I love my friend, and mean no harm, I\'m just giving example. We all want our children to have a good and happy life. I don\'t feel that they have to be A+ students and in every activity available to have that good and happy life. I do believe that they must have Jesus to have that good and happy life, so we focus a bit more on that. And to do our best with what God gives us to work with. Have a Blessed Day ! :)

DEB W 03/28/2012 05:56:52

Yesterday, a friend and I discussed at length how a certain Christian school in our area actually fosters the competition amongst students as mentioned in today\'s devotional. The way they did this yesterday was in the announcements of AP class placements for next year for each student within upper school grade levels. Our daughter has averaged an A all year in 6th grade math and was not selected for a higher Pre-Algebra or honors AP Pre-Algebra next year. All the students in her class were comparing their individual placements with each other and it was a very unhealthy atmosphere for many different reasons. Today\'s devotional is very timely for us. We are currently homeschooling one of our children but not the other. They are complete opposites of each other and we have been praying about bringing our daughter home as well for next year. Thank you for posting this devotional today. The Lord is using your ministry to help parents like us to be reminded of biblical truths in our daily walk. Praise the Lord that He does not compare His creation and hold us accountable as equals! I\'m so thankful that the Lord sees the condition of our hearts individually and draws us to Him daily.

TERESA S 03/28/2012 07:20:37

When I learned that my 4th grader\'s school class had moved passed fractions, I was tempted to work harder, 1 class for fractions, then a second one on advancing as per her original public school. She is finally getting fractions, but I wanted to \"keep up\". After reading this, I settled down. In the end, she will get all she needs. Why cut down on our fradtion work when she is actually remebering what she learned the previous day. She is excelling in science. Many people have trouble with math, but eventually become proficient. You just have to keep trying, until one day it \"clicks\". Glad to be reminded the dangers of comparision. There will always be thouse that are better and thouse that are worse. I do grade, but my girls, at least right now, are not that competitive. My oldest seems to need to know that she is doing well, and she needs a number to see. My girls need a 88 percent to move on.

INDIRA T 03/28/2012 07:40:44

Competetion is such a large part of our culture and us. So often I worry that my children won\'t measure up to \"their\" (whoever they are -- the christian private school we left, out friends our homeschool friends, the county\'s) standards. I worry that their performance if poor in even one area will reflect poorly on me and our decision to homeschool. The truth is if I am answering God\'s call which I am, then I need to consider only HIm and if He is pleased. It\'s just so hard to stay there in front of Him -- day by day, minute by minute. I should worry less about other\'s opinions of me and more about God\'s.

KATHY SPIELER 03/28/2013 14:44:09

DEAR AOP, I HATE TO BOTHER YOU AGAIN, BUT, I'M LEAVING MESSAGES UNTIL SOMEONE ANSWERS BACK. IN KINDNESS I ASK, WILL WE EVER HAVE ANY NEW DEVOTIONALS? IS THE WRITER SICK? IF SO, LET US KNOW, WE WILL PRAY FOR HER. NO ONE COMMENTS ANYTHING NEW, RATES OR DISCUSSES ANYTHING ON HERE ANYMORE, BECAUSE FOR SOME MONTHS NOW THESE ARE ALL REPEAT DEVOTIONALS. AGAIN, IF THE AUTHOR/WRITER IS ILL , I WILL PRAY AND I'M SURE OTHERS WILL TOO. AL;SO, I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GRADUATE MY 8TH GRADER FROM HOMESCHOOL SOON. AND....THE SOS MATH CURRICULUM WON'T DOWNLOAD INTO OUR NEW PC, IT DID IN THE OLD ONE, ALTHOUGH WE HAD A HARD TIME WITH IT IT, NOW THE DISC WILL NOT DOWNLOAD INTO OUR NEW COMPUTER. HELP!!!

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