Monday, September 12, 2016

Balancing Life with Backpacks and Bibles

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
Micah 6:7-8  (NIV)

School is well underway at my house for my two children. My son started second grade eager to learn new math and reading skills. My daughter returns to her special education class eager to, well, socialize.
When school starts, the homework begins coming home. There are spelling words that must be memorized. Books that need read aloud. Of course, there is no shortage of worksheets that require writing or circling or computation.

As the days pass, the graded papers make their way home in book bags. Perfect scores and A’s are celebrated with my son as he takes pride in them. Obvious errors are pointed out and discussed (like leaving a problem blank). Most of Jaycee’s papers are adorned with A+ or a number correct for her individualized work, which she is praised for too.
After a few weeks, the progress reports and grade cards make an appearance. My son usually happily hands his report over to me. My daughter doesn’t really have a concept of these letters and what they represent.

Academia is a difficult world for me to navigate as a parent. Academics have uses in life. Good grades are important for future opportunities and jobs. In the academic world, straight A’s are honored. The best spellers compete for bragging rights in the school’s spelling bee. Accelerator reader points are encouraged to be acquired by students who receive prizes accordingly. One of my children does well in this system, and one does not.
As Christians, we know the academic world has its place in our lives. We can’t live independent of the systems of this world, but we can have hope when our children don’t fit into those systems. My daughter will not excel in academic life due to her minimal verbal speech, inability to write beyond her name, and difficulty understanding abstract concepts. Jaycee tries her absolute best, but her best is not good enough to stay close to her peers.

This is why as Christian parents we understand what our purpose and mission are when raising our children. We must know God, serve Him in the ways we can, and follow His commands. This scripture in Micah takes it a step further saying we need to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. God is not impressed with anything else. Degrees, job titles, and wealth do not cause God’s graces to fall down on us. Our obedience to God and our love for others does. That is the hope I need for me and my family.
My children’s grades, good or bad, are not a reflection of their heart. Instead, I look for how they are growing in their unique relationships with God and how they are treating others around them with love and mercy.

I am thankful that a few years ago God helped me find a balance in life as a parent knowing that the contents of a backpack will not determine Jaycee's successes and future but the Bible will. Are you struggling with this balance? Let's pray:
God in Heaven,
I thank you for the life of each of our children in school. Help us Lord to see the gifts and abilities in our children that may not be captured on a report card. Let us not be stressed as parents when we see our children falling behind in school. Let us instead have an attitude of grace from you and view them through your eyes. Help us to know how to help our children do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before you as we teach them the things that really matter in this world. Let us have that the balance that comes when we put You first in any area of our parenting life. Amen!


[a] Micah 6:8 Or prudently

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