You got this!!!
You hear it shouted from the bleachers at kids games.
The words waft out of car windows during school drop off.
They echo as you walk through a roller rink, try outs, or gymnastics meet.
I hadn’t really paid that much attention to the words until recently.
Not only have they become ubiquitous (much like I know, right?, to my chagrin), they also become the topic of conversation in my kitchen.
My husband, who doesn’t regularly offer his philosophical ponderings, lit into this phrase.
Fresh off one of the kids games, he heard you got this over a dozen times.
What if they don’t ‘got this,’ he asked me.
And thus launched a vigorous discussion on modern parenting philosophies.
He and I will be the first to admit we get the parenting gig wrong all the time. We try hard and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.
But on this point we see completely eye to eye, at times to our children’s dismay.
While it is critically important to speak words of affirmation into your child’s life (and everyone’s for that matter), if affirmation is all they hear then they will never have a realistic perspective of their strengthens and weaknesses.
They don’t always ‘got this.’
If they don’t study hard for the test, then they don’t ‘got this.’
When they fail to practice every day for their recital, then a peppy ‘you got this’ will not spare them embarrassment on stage.
If they don’t have a talent for singing, running, juggling (insert whatever “thing” here), then blindly encouraging them with a ‘you got this’ won’t help one bit.
We’re coming off of baseball/softball season. We absolutely congratulate the kids for hard fought victories and fantastic plays, but we also discuss areas for improvement around the table. You’ve got to call the ball before trying to catch it. You need to practice your pitching more and warm up before the game. Don’t let the pressure of the last inning mess with your head.
One of our kids in particular says, Why can’t you just be more like so-and-so’s parent? (You know, the one who only says good things regardless of the effort put in or results achieved…)
I’m a words girl and an optimist, so I’m a huge believer in speaking life-giving messages into your kids. But you can do that while also providing constructive criticism that makes them stronger and better and more committed to improvement.
This is just tackling this sentiment on the parenting front.
If you evaluate this on any deeper level, then you realize it’s also fundamentally theologically wrong.
We, that is humans, don’t ‘got this.’
We muck it up all the time!
And we’ve mucked it up all the time since the beginning of time.
Wars and lies and greed and addiction and envy and arrogance and infidelity and hypocrisy and depravity.
You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself because you do the same things. (Romans 2)
There is no one who does good, not even one. (Psalm 14)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3)
The good news, on the parenting front as well as the theological one, is that God’s got this.
We got nothin’.
But God’s got everything.
You are the God in Heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand and no one can withstand against you. (2 Chron. 20)
He is before all things and in him all things hold together. (Col. 2)
So my kids won’t hear their parents yelling you’ve got this from the stands. We’ll encourage them. And also challenge them when they aren’t putting in the effort. But hopefully most we’ll remind them that we put in the work and do our best, but God’s the one who’s ‘got this.’