Growing up, my dad would always reply to a compliment with "Just borrowed". You could tell him he cooked a great omelet (one of his few specialties) or was an amazing builder or had the biggest hands in the whole wide world (he does!) and he would say they were just borrowed gifts from God. The talent was from God, the glory was His and my Dad was just one of His creations.
A few months ago, Phil and I were talking to an elderly Deacon and his wife that we have known a while. They are the sweetest couple, and always encourage us and share stories from the past when they were raising their children. The wife was saying something impressive about one of her daughters, and I said something like "Wow, you need to tell me how you raised a daughter like that!" And she replied, "We don't take credit for their successes and we don't take offense at their failures".
Both my dad and this couple are such great witnesses to me. There are plenty of times (just read through the blog archives) where I brag about my kids and put a little too much value on their achievements. My daughter can read at age four, my baby can say 20 words at 12 months, my son runs faster than anyone else on his team. Should I be happy for them? Yes! Should I give thanks to God for their borrowed talents? Yes! But at times, I can let it go to my head as if I had anything to do with it. As if.
There are also many moments when I wonder exactly what I did wrong because my child can't seem to "get" math like his classmates, or listen the first time Dad calls him, or talk at a normal decibel. If I am honestly trying the best I can to raise them with values and morals and a good education, then I shouldn't be so easily offended when they slip up. They are still God's children, and they are imperfect just like me. We can do everything in our power to raise them right and teach them properly, but they have free will to make their own choices.
When I consider Luke 2:19 ~ But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart, I am starting to see more and more what the role of motherhood really is. We should rejoice with our children in their goodness but not let our pride for them become prideful for us. We should sympathize with their difficulties but not let their crosses become our fault. We are only vessels. Parents have such important roles in raising children, and we need to do our best and then let go and let God. And God willing, they will turn out all right in the end :)