Self-promotion is an odious thing, and even self-revelation can be dangerous. I have what might charitably be called ‘a checkered past.’ Christ dealt with that when He saved me, but it does leave you wondering how you should deal with the knowledge of what you used to be. I can remember a whole series of conversations with Pam when we were younger that began with me saying “Before I met you…” She would always cut me off with a brief “I don’t want to know.” Being young and stupid (an unavoidable combination) I always figured she meant “I don’t want to know until I get to know you better.” But as time went on, I began to realize that she meant she didn’t want to know. Ever.

 

I must confess I felt a little resentful at first. After all, we live in an age where everyone needs to know everything about everybody, right? But because that is the temper of the times, does that make it a good thing? Over time I began to see the wisdom of my wife’s point of view, and even the trust and courtesy she was extending to me by her discretion. I had been damaged by the stupid things I had done in my dissolute youth, did I need to damage her, or our children by regurgitating such tales? What would be the point of such self-promotion?

 

And what is the point of being a parent anyway? Isn’t it to build up your children into who they were meant to be? Of what advantage is it to them to promote yourself, to build yourself up in their eyes? Doesn’t that just weaken them; make them feel that they don’t measure up to you? Is that doing them a service? Philippians 2:3 says that we “should do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves.” Our job as parents is not to make ourselves look good, or important, or even notorious, but to make our children feel good about themselves.

 

I get a little chuckle out of my children’s gentle reprimands that it is about time I began to see the world as it truly is. But even now I am not prepared to drag my past out in front of them for viewing. I am happy to let them tease me for being a stodgy old conservative. It is a measure of how far I have come in overcoming my past. Nor do I need to brag on what I am doing in the present. God sees my worth. I would rather talk about what my children are doing, that is what fills my heart.

 

Did you know that my daughter went out to Calgary with nothing but what she had in her car and the offer of job tending horses and within a year and a half was the manager of a Reitman’s store with a million dollar inventory? Now that’s an accomplishment worth talking about! She is 25 today, and I couldn’t be more proud of her than I am. You go girl; show ‘em what you are made of. Happy birthday; I love you for who you are!

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