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A Lesson in Love

     At the start of the school year this fall, our third grader decided that there were certain things he didn’t want to do this year. He was emphatic and said with all sincerity, “Mom, I just really don’t want to do history this year.”

myFriendDebbie.com - A Lesson in Love     I wanted to chuckle at first, at the idea that he actually thought I might be willing to veer from the standard that is expected.  But I didn’t. I sincerely heard him out. He presented his case that he just didn’t see why it was necessary. After all, he completed second grade so well and he is so smart already. That was his line of defense. Hilarious, I know!

     Never-the-less, he was very dogmatic in his opinions and insisted that he did not want to do it.

     I knew that if I didn’t handle the situation properly, we could have a challenge on our hands for a long time--a challenge that could last much longer than third grade.

     Frankly, I was upset that I had to be challenged in this way.

     So, I listened attentively and prayed in my heart that God would grant me the wisdom, discernment and discretion needed to handle his case with both compassion and truth.

     I first had to recognize how my natural tendency to react, rather than respond, would have sent both of us in a sour direction. I had to deal with my own feelings about the matter quietly, at the same time that I had to deal with his.

     You see, I have always been so glad to know that our children have developed a love of learning and a desire to be life-long learners—and to value our opportunity for education very highly---but here the youngest child of seven, was now about to sabotage our good record.

     I had to acknowledge my own frustration and be honest with myself.  I was upset, disappointed and overall not pleased with the situation, or him.

     He was blocking my goal, (of having children who love to learn) and threatening my pride (that I had done a good job as a mom of instilling that quality into their character).

     But I had to overcome that and process it in a kind and gentle manner, and put my own feelings aside.

     The Lord answered my silent prayer and I was able to look into my little boy's eyes with a great amount of love, the kind of love that comes from an almighty heavenly father who desires the good for his children.

     I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of love for him. I told him that I loved him so very much and that I wanted the very best for him.

     He began to cry with big crocodile tears. I could see that he was struggling to lay down his will for what was to be the better option for him. And I had compassion for him, because I know how hard that can be, even for big people with years of experience. I knew that for a small eight-year-old, it must be a huge challenge of maturity, growth and self discipline.

     As big tears rolled down his little cheeks, I offered him a comforting hug and he climbed into my lap. I gave him lots of love and kindness, as I held and rocked him for a little while, and told him how very special he was to me.

     I then realized that I had a special book on my shelf, right behind where I was sitting, from when I was in third grade, so I said, “Guess what, I have a book right here that I loved to read when I was your age, do you want to see it?”

     He jumped up with excitement. I said, “It’s very old, but it’s very special!”  He looked at the book with amazement as I gingerly took it off the shelf. I said, “Let’s be very careful with it, because the binding might break. Look how yellow and brittle the pages are. And here is the special bookmark I myFriendDebbie.com - A Lesson in Lovemade myself when I was in third grade. Look its all different colors. I loved to read the stories in here. They were so interesting. Heidi was one of my favorite books. I learned all kinds of things. Let’s see.”

     As we turned to one of the chapters in the book, we read a few paragraphs together of Heidi’s great adventures. It told of how she made a bed in the loft in the fragrant hay. I said to Galen, “Did you know hay was fragrant? I didn’t know that! Maybe that’s why horses like it so much!”

     By then, he had changed his mind and was inspired with how much fun learning can be, as it opens new worlds of adventure and opportunities and things we can discover.

     I could see the change in his heart and mind and I said affirmingly, “You’re going to love third grade, Galen!”

     He had a whole new refreshed countenance when he jumped up and said, “Thanks Mom! I’m going to get even smarter in third grade! I’m going to go get my history book!”

     Before I knew it, he was reading all about Christopher Columbus, learning that he was born in Genoa, Italy and that his father and grandfather were both weavers of fine wool, and that young Christopher had a love for adventure and a passion for studying the open seas.

     Galen was so excited to tell me all about it, and all that he was learning about the Mediterranean and Portugal.

     I realized that keeping my son’s heart was more special in the long run than pounding the benefits of education, although it certainly has its place.  And that showing the way can mean a lot. But most importantly the patience that our heavenly father shows to us is what we need to show to our children as they navigate their tender years.

     The Bible says that God’s loving kindness endures forever, and that His tender mercies endure for all generations!

     I encourage you to show this kind of love to your children with every assignment this school year and beyond!

     I see so many mothers making school so stressful for the children, and for themselves, and I used to be one of them. But I have learned to approach it much differently now, and I hope you will too!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Debbie Reynolds Harper

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