9 Things That Do Not Teach Our Children Excellence

I have two boys. They are both amazing and wonderful and perfectly unique.

One is a clean freak and the other resembles Pig Pen from the Peanuts gang!

One craves organization and lives by the rule book. The other notices no chaos whatsoever and doesn’t closely adhere to that rule book.

In our home, we tend to talk about excellence a lot. I believe that as a family who loves the Lord, excellence is a subject matter that needs addressing. But let’s stop here for a minute.

When I say excellence, I don’t mean perfection.

You see, God is the perfection of excellence. He alone has it mastered. But as we live our lives before Him, we must do our part and give our best with all the blessings and giftings He has so graciously extended us.

Would you like to teach excellence to your children, but are nervous about turning it into perfectionism? 9 Things That Do Not Teach Our Children Excellence. Lori Schumaker - Searching for Moments

Not long ago, I was having one of those conversations with my younger treasure. (The one from the Peanuts Gang.) He looked at me during the conversation.  It was about the discrepancy between his extremely high level of intelligence and the grade that was reported on his work.  His tender little face that is so usually filled with the grin of the next funny joke or a plan for his next activity, crinkled up spilling tears onto his cheeks.

“But Mom, I’m trying so hard … I do want to do things with excellence. I do. Really. It just doesn’t turn out that way. I don’t know why I do this.”

Ugh. Knife to the heart, right?  How could I not be left with questions?

Does a pursuit of excellence lead my eldest to obsess upon perfection causing him not only anxiety, but to miss out on the big picture of the journey?

Does it cause my younger of the two to feel incompetent and unable to live up to excellence, causing him to give up on the pursuit?

Can excellence be a thorn to each?

Each in their own unique way?

As Mama, where do I draw the line between seeking excellence and resisting perfection? And how will I successfully teach and embody that concept into these precious young lives?

How do I give them a healthy perspective of what excellence truly is?

Maybe it is easier if I start by defining excellence by what it is NOT.

What Excellence is Not - Searching for Moments

God has given me the BEST job ever. I am blessed beyond measure to be given these treasures to Mama.

I don’t want to mess it up. And I’m more than positive you don’t either.

So we need to take this excellence thing to heart. As we strive to teach our children just what excellence is and what it is not, we, too, must embody those characteristics.

Even in this Mama gig.

It’s true. I don’t think there is a Mom out there who has escaped it. Being a Mom is a breeding ground for comparisons, insecurities, judgement and perfectionism. But, it is a place we cannot go if we want to help our children grow into adults that seek to pursue a life lived in true Godly excellence.

Motherhood is a breeding ground for comparisons,insecurities,judgement and perfectionism. Click To Tweet

Colossians 3-23 - Excellence

That means that as we teach, we must model excellence as a receiving of each of our gifts from our Heavenly father.

Then stewarding them to the best of our individual abilities rather than comparing them to the abilities of those around us.

Finally, it is resting in the peace and contentedness that our best may not measure up to the best by worldly standards. Rather, that it measures up to the best before the God of the universe Who is smiling down upon us for choosing to draw in and know Him better.

I know those tears rolling down my sweet pea’s cheeks were an indicator. They were a message for me to reach in, get closer and see where our pursuit of excellence was turning into a thorn. I still needed to hold him accountable, but we needed to work through what excellence was and was not in the eyes our Father’s unfailing love.

I’m pretty sure it is an area we will need to revisit over and over again. An area to self-reflect. And to ask three things:
  1. Am I receiving my unique gifts?
  2. Am I stewarding them well?
  3. Am I resting in the knowledge that my best was excellent in the eyes of God?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you struggle drawing the line between seeking excellence and resisting perfection?


Would you like to teach excellence to your children, but are nervous about turning it into perfectionism? 9 Things That Do Not Teach Our Children Excellence. Lori Schumaker - Searching for Moments

P.S.  If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be perfect, my friend Holley Gerth’s new book will encourage you. You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.

P.P.S. If you are looking for extra encouragement. These are some wonderful places I link to each week!


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    1. Debbie, Im so glad the list rang true for you! Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful evening!!

      Blessings and smiles,

  1. So true! Moms often fall into the comparison trap in so many areas of life. Thanks for the reminder that our best is excellence in God’s eyes. Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart.

    1. Hi Kristen,

      Ugh! Isn’t it true? Mommies start with comparing weight gain and pregnancy stories, to their toddler’s behavior, to grades in school, and eventually to scholarships and college choices! It is in each season of Mommyhood. I wish we could ALL just lay it down and filter it only through the eyes of God. We would all be so much happier, wouldn’t we? Thanks so much for stopping by and I’m so glad God used my words for His good 🙂

      Many blessings and smiles,

  2. Yes, yes, yes! This is something I have been teaching my son. When I was in the classroom teaching, my students were also taught this, because of the dreaded year-end “top student” award. There were many children who literally gave up on trying to do their best work all because of one award. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Thank you, Lori! I love Frog’s Lilypad and Thankful Thursdays! I remember teaching as well, and seeing the same things. I tried so desperately throughout each year to find that one special area of excellence for each child and build upon that and have my own special award time to acknowledge each for their true efforts. I somehow just know that young man of yours is going to grow up with a healthy view of excellence and he will do great thing for God’s kingdome someday!! 🙂

  3. Just discovered you on #FellowshipFriday! Lovely post! I will tweet and pin it! It’s so important as parents we discern what excellence means. I live in a town where I can clearly see what toll it takes on kids when the wrong kind of excellence is communicated or pressured. Beautiful list of questions! Blessings from Espressos of Faith!

    1. Hi Bonnie! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! I am so glad you connected with this post. I am so thankful God is using my words for His good! It makes me smile so big! Thanks, also, for the tweet and pin!

      Many blessings,

  4. We are always striving to be better, when God says you are enough! Thank you for your honest, it hits a nerve with every woman! Stopping by from Reflect

    1. Jann, Thank you so much for stopping by from Reflect! I love connecting there each week! God does say we are enough – I think we should all repeat that at least 10 times a day! 🙂 Maybe that can be anotherr post … hmmm… 😉

  5. Beautiful! I teach middle school boys (and it looks like you’ve got a few of those) and I love posts like this that remind me how tender their hearts are, even when they’re being kind of crazy in my classroom. Keep on fighting the good fight to encourage excellence and grace, work and rest in your boys. The world needs more mamas like you, and I hope to parent with grace like you describe here when my hubby and I have our own littles. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lauren,

      They really are just awkward, somewhat tall, tough, but tender teddy bears who still just need words of affirmation from those they love and admire 🙂 Tonight was an extremely goofy night with my boys, but before I knew it, the one was flinging himself next to me on the sofa and diving in for a little cuddle time. I melted. Imediately 🙂

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words! I am already believing you are going to be a FABULOUS parent!

      Blessings and smiles,

  6. Its refreshing to see parents intentional about raising children who understand the importance of excellence. Balance is key.

    Striving for excellence can easily lead to feeling overwhelmed and giving up. So glad you are fully aware of that.

    Stopping by from SITS

    1. Hi Yvonne,
      Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words! Balance IS key … and such fine line to constantly manage! If I’m not careful, my perfectionist ways can even cause me to try to be perfect at keeping balance! Ha! 😉

      Blessings and smiles,

  7. You just described my two sons! Just opposite on older and younger. They’re 18 and 20 now and I know we didn’t do everything right but we’re sure proud of the men they’ve grown into.

    1. Hi Laura,

      What a great report to hear! God does fill in our gaps, doesn’t he! I pray my two love-bugs will grow into Godly men, as well! Thanks so much for stopping by!!

      Blessings and smiles,

  8. Having kids is my greatest gift and I understand that what we do as parents to build into our kids to be the best they can be sometimes can back fire a little. By listing what excellence is not you have shown all of us that God’s definition of excellence is not as rigid as we make it. Being His child means that we strive to be as much like God as we can knowing that we are human and do make mistakes. Blessed to have you at The Weekend Brew.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to link up with you at The Weekend Brew! It is such a wonderful site filled with great encouragement and inspiration! Thank you, also, for your kind words. I agree. Even though we are all unique and all at different places along the road of life, as long as our trajectory is improving in our pursuit to be as much like God as we can, we are doing excellent 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. I confused perfectionism for excellence for so long in my life. Thanks for sharing the list of what excellence is not, as I needed those reminders today. So glad to see you at The Weekend Brew!

    1. Hi Barbie,

      Thank you for stopping back by to visit and I am so thankful God used my words as a reminder for you! I love linking up with you at The Weekend Brew! It is such a great place for encouragement and inspiration. Thank you for the opportunity!

      Blessings and smiles,

  10. We only want the best for our children Lori but sometimes we can unknowingly put them under undue stress and anxiety. We need to be able to encourage them to achieve in their own way and help them to feel confident and happy individuals.

    1. Hi Sue 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting! So true, we do only want the best, and somehow we fall into traps we never intended.
      Blessings and smiles,

  11. both my children are polar opposites and approached life from completely different directions. What we tried to instill in them was to do and be their best. Not to compare themselves (although we all do that unfortunately) but to aim to produce what was their best effort. Both have achieved really well in their fields and I’m so proud that they found their paths and are happy. Perfectionism is a killer.

    1. I’m so thankful your kiddos have grown into happy adults! Perfectionism is a trap and it effects so many!!!! Thank you so much for visiting! Happy New Year!!

  12. Girl, I’m in the same spot as your little one! I know that God is pushing me to use my talents, but sometimes it’s so hard. I should be writing about our story, I’m sure that’s why He is having us walk this path, but it’s so hard. We have seen all our friends fall away, and for a year our family did too. I know that there are so many others going through what we are, but after reaching out so many times and feeling rejected it gets scary to reach out again. But I am reminded of the woman at the well, she was fearful, but she reached out and because she did her life, and the lives of those around her, were changed forever. So, I will keep pushing forward, I know I’m not alone, ever. Great post! Thanks for the reminder. xx

    1. Amen, Nikki! Her story is so powerful. I will be praying about how and when you write your story. Maybe now is still a time of preparation. Writing the story for your eyes only until the day God calls you with that undeniable pull. I am so sorry so many have rejected your family. I believe many people cannot mentally allow themselves out of a bubble of safety. They don’t know how to manage their emotions and feel at a loss as to how to help. So instead, they hide and disappear. I hope you have a support group of some kind of other parents going through your situation. It helps so much to sit alongside someone else who can say, “I get it. I’m there, too.”. I’m praying for you, friend, and believing in God to lift you up and carry you on His wings – giving you supernatural peace, strength, wisdom, and hope. I believe our God moves mountains and performs miracles even today and I am boldly calling out to Him to do just that on behalf of your family. Hugs, Lori