All of a sudden, everything we thought we knew, all that made us so confident, is turned upside down and we are HUMBLED.
This happened in a small way to the Santos Children earlier this week.
It was supposed to be fun; something to get them out of the boring routine of filling in their books and memorizing facts. I read about a home school project in a parenting magazine and thought "That sounds like fun! Bet the kids would love it."
So we put away the books and played a game that would prepare them for the project.
One child, blindfolded, stood at the front door. A second child gave instructions to him/her to get to a place in the house (i.e. the kitchen). The goal was to get them there without any mishaps and to avoid all obstacles.
It was fun. We laughed. We learned "Go straight" was not as effective as "Take one step forward."
Then, the assignment was given.
Draw a map to a local destination and write out written instructions. Once completed, we would pile into "Old Faithful" (our van) and drive to the place by strictly following the directions given. I decided to add something special. IF, I repeat, IF we got to the destination by following the directions EXACTLY, then there would be a reward.
Noah was to draw a map to A&W. (reward: a root beer float for everyone)
Naomi, the library (reward: borrow a movie for the family to watch that night)
Sophia, the fabric store (reward: buy one notion or package of stickers for each child)
That was when we were all thrown for a loop.
Or, maybe it was just me. I was thrown for a loop. I was expecting my children to learn how to give good directions, but, instead we were going to learn about our Character - or the lack of it.
Before they even began to use their pencils their hearts were exposed.
"But I don't want to go to the library!"
"I don't like that reward! I want something else."
"I don't remember the street names. I can't do this project, it is too hard!"
"How come he gets to go there? That's where I want to go. Can we trade?"
Then MY heart was exposed. I was angry. This teacher was tempted to call it quits, to say, "Never mind! Get the books back out and forget it."
This reminded me of how we respond to God's assignments and His blessings.
We persevered. After some rebuking, and exhorting, we got to work.
Noah's map looked promising. Unfortunately, when we followed it perfectly, it led us in the opposite direction.
Yelling from the back of the van, "Mom, you're going the wrong way!"
I replied, "The map says 'turn right at the exit. This is the closest thing I can find to an exit, so I turned right."
"No, Mom, back there was the exit, where the road curves at the blue house."
'Old Faithful' turned back and I clarified that what he called an 'exit' was only a curve in the road. We adjusted the map accordingly, but feelings were bad. Success was expected. Their thoughts ran thus, "We know how to get there! This was supposed to be easy. Maybe, Mom doesn't want us to get a reward? Maybe she wants us to fail?"
This scene was repeated with the girls. In the end, It was MOM's fault we didn't get to the destinations. After all, she was driving. She knew what we meant. We didn't have to be exact in our directions. She WANTED us to fail.
Isn't this how we all are? We blame others for our failings. At times, we blame God for them.
The Bible says, "All we, like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way" There is no one to blame for our failings but ourselves. It is God's desire to give us GRACE just like it was my desire to give the children a reward.
The children wanted to quit. They had determined that this was going to be unsuccessful. I tried to persuade them, "Let's just fix our maps. We have learned that we aren't as good at giving directions as we thought. Maybe next time we'll get there and the reward will be waiting!"
How often I have found myself in the same place! Would they admit their shortcomings and learn, or would they continue to blame me and give it up?
"But He giveth more grace, wherefore he saith, God resists the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6
When we find ourselves in a humiliating place of failure or need, that is when we are given GRACE. When we are perfectly capable of doing 'it' ourselves and doing 'it' perfectly, we tend towards pride. God resists the proud!
Homeschooling is such an adventure.