I swear right when I think I have finally figured something out, I get a half sigh of relief out and before it's completely exhaled something comes up from behind, blindsides the bajeebees out of me and turns everything on it's ear.
It is not a trite saying or cliche - but my hearts cry - that this truly is the most rewarding mission I have been assigned. From great struggle comes great reward, right? Right.
So, this morning I was trying to handle three boys, who reallllly didn't want to get up (deep gratitude that ONE was being fully cooperative). I was kind of exhausting myself putting out fires right and left. I've just recovered from a fairly horrendous case of strep throat, and am trying to find the energy level I had previously established.
Jay asks me multiple times per day if I can home school him. While I am not anti-home school in any way (says the girl who was home schooled for 13 years) it is not where we feel God is leading at this time. I'm talking to him about finishing well with what we have started, I am explaining to him that his daddy and I are seeking God with every step we take in parenting him. I explain that we love him very much, care about his concerns, but that his "grass is always greener" mentality does not apply here. All that "really, really, really hard work" he has to do? - It would be at least that hard here. And the disdain he is feeling for me at the moment? - Would only multiply as I would be the one administering all of the really, really, really hard work.
I love this kid. And he doesn't get it. So that is frustrating me. If he could only see the sacrifices, the love, the investments we are making into his life! - How much we want him to succeed at the life God has laid before him. But he's 9 days shy of 10 years old. I think that means he has a special kind of filter that simply can not hear certain concepts.
You don't care.
You aren't listening.
But I am! I do! CAN'T YOU SEE IT???!!
So, in that moment I am praying and grasping and sputtering. - And this thought finally lands, "You are reasoning with him like you would reason with yourself".
So, who is he? Where is he at? What unique things are forming this pre-teen in front of me.
He tends to get fairly obsessed with things he is interested in, before moving onto the next thing.
It was Batman when he was younger, and then Star wars, and now the Hobbit.
I mean, I have to nod my head to that fact that this kid is devouring humongous books that I likely wouldn't have even glanced at when I was 9. He has now finished this and has started the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. It's all three books in one volume. Sometime I will need to write a post about the librarian's response when I went to renew it and he thought I was reading it, then looked down in shock at Jay's lil' face when I said it was for him. It was a good time.
Oh - and his valentines and valentine mailbox, of course, had to parallel his obsession.
But he is.
So we are in the van, he's in the passenger seat continuing to make his case for how horrible school is and how he never wants to go again. Ever. In his life.
We have had many, many conversations concerning this. Dave and I have both talked to him, we've talked to his principal and teacher - and have been told time and again that he is doing fine. The work continues to challenge him as he moves up in grades. He is now in 4th grade and yeah - it's hard work. We strive to find that correct balance of stepping in and lightening his load when it is appropriate, and stepping back so that he can grow through struggle in a safe environment.
He's stressing. That's hard for me. His freckles seem darker in the early morning frigid temps and deceitful sunshine.
While I have not yet allowed him to watch the "real" Lord of the Rings or Hobbit movies, we did find a cartoon version that we watched as a family just yesterday. My minimal knowledge of these things has grown, in cartoonish proportions.
Ok. So, I can't talk to him as if I am reasoning with myself. I'm reaching for words and common ground. Some kind of language that will sink in and take root.
"I wish it were easier. Why is it so hard? I can't do it. Why do we have to do it?" - He carries on.
So I level with him, in a Hobbit-ish way.
This is your battle. This is your battle! Is it tough? Yes. Your life is not going to some day reach a point where the battles just stop. Until your life is done. It's like there's this dragon. Called sin. And of course SOMEDAY it is slayed once and for all. But for now? Battle after battle.
This is yours - right now. And you can do this. You can totally do this."
I am not even kidding, that this kid transforms beside me. His head whips up and - wonder of wonders - he is listening.
He is hearing.
I am literally rambling on, knowing full well I may be making zero sense, asking Tolken's pardon in it all - and here he is, LISTENING.
"So, yeah. It's battle after battle. Of the five armies. And stuff.
But you can do it. Dude. You've got this. And in the event that you find yourself in over your head, you know that God's got this. He's going to let you use your head and the courage he has given you, but when you find yourself at the end of it all, you know he's right there. Right there, Buddy."
My eyes are darting form the snowy road to his ice blue eyes. And he's completely relaxing.
"You're only a little fella in a wide world, after all."
I mean, aren't we all?