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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’


Addition, division, subtraction and multiplica...

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Even though the school year is winding down, my son has been working hard to keep his grades up with more than a little prodding from mom.

The seventh grade has been rough scholastically, presenting challenge after challenge to the way he wants to do his schoolwork and the way he needs to do it. The one subject he seems to keep on struggling with is Algebra, and, the issue seems less about his inability to do the work and more about the way he does it.

In other words, he keeps on insisting that he can do it the way he wants to do it, not the way he needs to. This centers around his insistence that he doesn’t need to write out all the steps when he’s working out an Algebraic problem. And, sometimes he’ll even insist that he doesn’t need to write out the equation. Then when he solves the problem the way he wants to, he’s shocked when he gets a problem wrong. What shocks me is that he actually gets a fair amount of the problems correct.

The challenge for me this year is to try and help him change the way he thinks about Algebra, along with any of the other subjects where he has an insistent mindset about how they should be done.

My mom, who has a lot of wisdom, has always said if you think you’re going to tell a child something once, twice or even half a dozen times and they’re going to get it, you’re deluding yourself. If you want them to learn something you have to keep on repeating yourself, saying the same thing over and over again until it sinks in, which may take years. So, you might as well not get too upset about it, just do it.

I’ve had a lot of instances to think about that wisdom this year as I keep on telling my son, ‘You have to write out the equation. Then you have to write every step of the equation, because if you do something wrong then you have a better chance of figuring out where you went wrong than if you just try to do the problem in your head, get it wrong and have no point of reference to fix it from.’

When he actually does this it’s amazing how efficiently he gets through the problems. His answers are correct and relatively painless in the making, but, up until that point it is a challenge both for him and me. And, until he gets to the point where he does it all the time, he can’t really move on to higher math.

Seeing him and his resistance to changing his mind, how he does things, and my trying to get him to see another way, made me think about how often we do this with God.

How many times does it just seem like we’re waiting for something to happen? Waiting for God to do something when in reality He has been – and is – doing something. He’s been working on our resistant minds, conforming our ways and thoughts to His. Then, when we have finally learned what we need to learn, and our minds have been changed to look more like His,  He can take us into that direction that He’s been training us for along.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

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The other day I wanted to ask my almost 12-year old son a question.

Instead of just doing the thing that the experts tell you that you should do, which would be to try to find him and look at him full in the face in order to communicate with him more effectively, I did what most parents do. I yelled my question from where I was in the office to wherever he was in the house thinking he would hear me.

“Here I am,” yelled my son from the other room after I’d called him for the umpteenth millionth time. In exasperation after there was no response to my question, I needed to know if he was even within earshot. I needed to know if he was there. So, I said, very loudly mind you, “Where are you?”

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that we live in a large house where it is easy to not hear someone. No, my son and I live in a two bedroom, two bath home that is very small. In fact, I often refer to it affectionately as my little shoebox. So, the fact that I had to find out where he was in it was somewhat comical considering I usually know where my cat is at all times.

But my son, he’s a different story altogether. He’s always moving around, seemingly never in the same place for more than a second or two. In my mind, he never seems close by at all, but whenever he yells back “Here I am”(this little scenario happens more frequently than I would like to admit) inevitably he is much closer than I ever expect. Usually just around the corner.

Isn’t this usually how it feels with God? He always seems like He’s moving around, and fast too, like we just can’t get a grip on where He is only to find that He’s been right in the mix, next to us the whole time saying “Here I Am”.

“Therefore My people will know My name; therefore they will know on that day that I am He who says: Here I am.”     Isaiah 52:6

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