Where Credit is Due

“Bouncy ball go?” I heard that phrase probably forty times. My two-year-old son’s voice rang out again and again as we crawled around the living room looking under couches and shoes and the cat for his new bright orange bouncy ball. Finally I spotted it, wedged under the coffee table, and pulled it out. “Buddy! Look!” I said, holding up the ball.

“I found it!” he yelled.

This has been happening lately. I’ll arrange his train track set in a figure eight, and when the last track is in place, he proudly proclaims, “I did it!”  Or I’ll replace the batteries in a defunct flashlight, hand it back to him, and when it turns on successfully he says, “I fixed it!”

My first reaction is, Hey wait a second, I found it. I did it. I fixed it.

But I don’t think that my son is trying to steal my rightly deserved credit. He can be sneaky at times, but in these cases his tone is nothing but innocent joy. It seems that he assumes that a victory for any member of the team is a victory for every member of the team. So what if I’m the one who saw the ball/built the trains/replaced the batteries? He and I are a community.  When I win, he wins.

It’s a wake-up call for my prideful heart. When somebody helps me, I feel obligated, guilty, or like a failure. Maybe that’s Americanism. Maybe it’s being a girl. Maybe it’s just me. It’s hard to receive, let alone rejoice, in the gift. I like taking credit for what I do, and I don’t like when I can’t take credit because I didn’t do it all by myself. How silly. How very anti-Gospel.

I’m not sure yet how to shift this way of thinking or feeling, but I thought it would help to put it out here. Maybe you have ideas on how I can change, or maybe you can relate. Maybe my toddler can sit us all down for a quick lesson in grace.


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