We started a new school year earlier this month and the reality of high school is upon me. It is both exciting and intimidating. In a very real sense, I find myself thinking that this is what I have been working for all these years; this is it!
Gradually moving my children to adulthood has become more purposeful now. I want to give them more opportunities to make, carry out and experience the consequences of decisions. I don’t believe that rebellion is a needed part of growing up and independence is not my goal. (Independence ranks among one of Satan’s greatest lies, in my opinion. I hope to raise responsible, contributing people who recognize the need for all humanity to exist in an inter-dependent manner. Another soapbox for another day.) Rebellion is not from God, but He does call for a personal relationship with Him, so the kids can’t just ‘coast’ on their Christianity based on our faith; they must evaluate and choose to have Christ as their Savior and Lord. While we won’t tolerate disrespectful attitudes that mark rebellion, we actively encourage questions, exploration and thoughtful disagreement. I want my kids to know what they believe and why they believe it. I want them to maintain humble countenances and be open to learning, while also remaining firm on foundational truths and capable of holding to an idea in the face of an opposing majority.
Lofty, almost nebulous goals. But they are my goals nonetheless. How do we do it? I am not entirely sure, but for now we are pushing the kids to take ownership of their education. Instead of spoon-feeding lessons, I expect active learners to ask questions, check sources and know themselves well enough to compensate for their various weaknesses.
My boy’s biggest struggle is motivation. That is a nice way to say that his biggest struggle is laziness. He is easy-going and tends towards the path of least resistance. This is an admirable trait in some areas in life, and a huge improvement from when he was younger and so easily upset by any perceived hint of injustice. Now he simply needs to find the hunger to push himself through whatever version of writer’s block hits him.
My girl’s biggest struggle is her own view of herself. She decides that she can’t, and successfully fulfills that prophecy. Getting her to see herself in a different light is an ongoing process. She likes categories, and once something is filed, it takes an act of God for her to re-examine it. The trouble with this is of course, well….life! Things change, and she doesn’t always deal with that very well. Her learning disabilities have her convinced that she is stupid. She can’t. With that filed away neatly in her mind, it seems no number of successful forays into education can sway her opinion of her own abilities. We have been working on this for a blessedly long time.
But today, I was sitting next to her at the table while she wrote her spelling words. She shared that she came up with a plan to sort of test her ability in the moment and was pretty proud of herself. I was excited to see her take charge of her own learning by experimenting actively to improve her spelling. First word: score!! Next: right on! Third: no problem. She was on a roll and really excited about her method. She declared, “I am going to do better on this test than I did last week.”
If you know anyone who has been down on themselves, you know the flutter of joy that I experienced in my soul to hear those words of confidence. I told her I was so proud of her. Before I could expound on it, she continued, “…Mostly because it would be hard to do worse!” I followed her eyes to the test last week showing only two words spelled correctly. I had to laugh. Life can be so hard sometimes and we can so easily focus on ‘evidence’ of our unworthiness. I am thankful for her grit to rise above and press on to greater things.