Learning to read has been a struggle for my son. He is eager to learn but wrestles with the work it's taking to get there. Most days, anything that requires processing words, is a battle.
As you can imagine, that's pretty much the entire school day. Distant learning has been a challenge for us both and just when we're getting somewhere, I find him abandoning his work.
Today, I caught him sneaking videos on his chrome book instead of doing his reading assignment.
My shoulders sank in exasperation and tears slipped from my eyes in immediate frustration. I was so tired of this daily struggle, my patience long depleted.
Sighing, I wanted to yell but found myself kneeling down beside him instead.
I held his gaze with mine, both our eyes welling with tears. For a minute we just stared at each other, I didn't have words to say and neither did he. Then, with a gentle urgency and authority not mustered by me, words came from my mouth and pierced my heart as much as they impacted his.
"I know this feels so hard, but you have a responsibility to do the work that you've been given to do today...don't give up."
I was him, my neglect just looked a little different than sneaking Wild Kratts. Before me, like a mirror, I was looking at a miniature male version of myself. My own versions of escape were no different and as I found myself frustrated with his behavior I was wrestling with the very same thing myself.
Connecting with his heart in my exasperation was like schoolwork that, if I'm honest, I didn't want to do. Threatening with consequences and yelling was more inviting than practicing self-control. Remembering who God was, what He says about my son and about me, was like a subject that I couldn't fully comprehend. Inviting God in...asking for help...allowing my heart to soften...praying...all felt like uncomfortable work that I didn't want to do.
I knew it was essential, but I wanted it to be effortless.
He knew reading was valuable, but he wanted it to be easy.
Together we acknowledged how hard this felt, then my son gave me a nod and turned back to his work. I turned back to mine.
I guess we both needed to learn a lesson about not giving up and applying ourselves to our work even when we didn't feel like it.
His path to learning to read may feel insignificant to him at times, but each step along the way is far from meaningless. My own path and steps to take often feel the same to me, but like reading is a fundamental skill in which the abundance of education can be received, learning to put aside my self-reliant ways and give myself to the work of the Lord in my heart is where the fullness of abundant life flows.
Let us not give up.
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
-1 Corinthians 15:58
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