It was that time of year again - the annual IEP review for our son.
My husband and I have our pre-IEP-plan down to a science, of sorts. Sometime during the week of the meeting, we sit down and discuss what we feel the two or three "core issues" are that we see preventing growth in our son. We also discuss what we've tried to do at home that may/may not have worked in overcoming these issues.
We were having one of those discussions when all of a sudden my husband, who is an extremely creative, visionary educator, got a sparkle in his eyes. I raised my eyebrows in confusion at his seemingly random excitement. In response, he said something I will never forget:
I get it, Emmy! I know the true purpose of an IEP! An IEP is the parents' plea to their child's educators to love their child and the reciprocal promise from the educators that they will love that child.Wow. Seriously, wow. When he said that, it was as if he had taken a table covered in rubrics, test scores, paperwork, therapy tools, etc. and wiped them clear off the table, leaving it clean and ready for true productivity. That is exactly what we want for our son - we want to know that our child will be loved and appreciated for who he is by the people who are helping us grow WHO HE IS.
I felt like 30 pounds had been lifted off of my soul in that moment of clarity.
Then I had an even bigger epiphany - that is what God wants us to offer one another. Often times, I am so focused on problem solving and strategy that I forget to just love my neighbor. Every day I slip into believing the lie that I have to have all the answers rather than just offer a shoulder to cry on.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 nlt)God didn't put us here on this earth alone - he gave us the gift of each other. If I want to be a gift to my brothers and sister, no matter the circumstance, I need to love them as our father loves them. I need to live out a SPIRITUAL IEP:
PRAY: Dear Lord, I am sorry for all the times when I haven't loved others like I should. You have given us the gift of brothers and sisters to sharpen together with, and sometimes I take that for granted. Help me to live out your command to love my neighbor as you, our father, loves his children. Thank you for putting special educators in our schools who cherish our children and set an example for me to embrace. Amen.
- Emily Krill