Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When it Seems Like You'll Forever Be Holding the Hand of Your Struggling Learner

Mustering up all the excitement I could, I tapped my little guy on the shoulder. "Ready for swim lessons?" 

As he lounged on my bed, he crossed his arms over his legs and scowled. "I don't wanna go." No surprise here. It was his typical response for trying something new.

"Well, I already paid for it, so you're going." And that was my typical response.

He's smart enough to know there was no point arguing. Mama's got her plans, so he better go along with it or he might pay the price in loss of video game time. 

Thankfully, his swim instructor was super patient and he eventually had a blast and became a stronger swimmer.

Soccer was harder. Even though all the other kids had gathered around the coach, he refused to go out on the field. I hadn't planned on this.

Holding his hand, I padded out on the field and as soon as he was distracted, I backed away and hurried to the bleachers. He was fine after that and ended up loving it.

Then it was time for the club meeting. I was prepared for a similar scenario. But, the dynamics of the room proved to cause sensory overload for him. 

He clung to me like a bear cub on a pine tree. This mama bear wanted him to participate, but I had to let it go. Our kids' hearts are more important than how well they perform. 

All oaks from acorns grow, right? This little acorn, he has autism. Will he still grow up into an oak, able to stand on his own? Cause I know he can't hold my hand forever. 

How do us parents with struggling learners move from frustration and disappointment to hope?

We need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Success in the Kingdom of the Son doesn't lie in college diplomas, a six figure job and grand accolades. It's being like Jesus.

Not only did Jesus level with us all by becoming a man, He lowered himself even further, by becoming a servant and washing his disciples' mud-encrusted feet.

If we want our kids to be like Jesus, we need to be like Him first and let go of our plans and our pride.

We must be willing to stoop down low and hold our children's hands until they can stand on their own. But also taking a step further and showing them the nail-scarred hand of the one who will never let them go.

It's making disciples of the least of these.

So they can bring His light into a dark world.

My boy loves John Bunyan's allegory The Pilgrim's Progress

Christian, the main character in the story embarks on a journey to somehow remove the heavy burden on his back (his sin). 

Along the way, he comes face-to-face with Jesus on the cross and the burden comes rolling off never to be seen again. 

But, that's not the end of the story. 

He is given a new coat of armor to protect himself (the armor of God) and a little scroll to help him along the way (the Bible). 

The journey takes many twists and turns and Christian has to fight, endure and press on. Until he reaches that Celestial City where his earthly journey ends and his heavenly one begins.

Our kids need Jesus. For salvation, protection and life instructions.

Let's not just focus on self-sufficiency, but God-sufficiency. May our children not only walk the stage to get a diploma, but walk the path to the cross, where every self-centered dream must die in order for dreams eternal to live.

In whatever weaknesses our children have, God is strong. And, He is more glorified in those who need Him most.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4