Saturday, February 26, 2011

Discovering His Strengths

I've been seriously disliking home school lately. There are so many things that so many home school parents don't bother to tell you. Like first and fore most, teaching a little boy to read is HARD work. It's frustrating. I've never taught anyone to read in my life. And in this moment, I'm not entirely sure that I ever want to do it again. Some days are fine. But other days are not so fine. He gets frustrated and cries. I get frustrated and cry. I ask him questions he doesn't know the answer to. He asks me questions I don't know the answers to. We both sit there with our face buried in our hands, silent, wondering who's gonna say what next to break the tension that's overwhelming us both.

I talk to other moms... Moms who have walked the same road for many more years than I have. They assure me that things will get better... that the process is normal... that once he strengthens his reading skills everything will get a whole lot easier.

In all honesty I'm not at the place where I'm completely convinced that they're right.

But I will say this... As hard as it has been to figure out how on earth to teach my son how to read, it has been nothing but a gift to watch him grow into this helpful, generous, hard-working, Jesus-loving, almost six-year-old boy. When ever we're NOT trying to master reading, I am so blessed by this little boy and the way that he serves his sisters, the way that he helps me with all the days chores, the way that he spends many minutes each day making his little brother laugh while I'm trying to make dinner or fold laundry.
I'm blessed by the way he's independently responsible with so many things... how before he comes down from his room each morning, he gets himself dressed, makes his bed, cleans his room... how he unloads the dishwasher nearly every morning, vacuums under the table after every meal... how he brings the laundry down the steep stairs a couple times a week, and helps me separate it out.

I'm blessed by the way he prays exactly what's on his heart, how he thanks the Lord for the simple things. I'm blessed by the way that he memorizes God's Word. And I'm beyond blessed by the way that he gently reminds me with scripture that he has written on his heart, to check my tone in my moments of frustration when he says things like, "Mom, you are not using words that are helpful for building others up. Could you please speak in a kinder way?"

What five year old says that to his mother?

I'm blessed by his gratitude... how he goes out of his way to express thanks with no prompting at all. This morning I got out of my nice warm bed to help him find a shirt that he was looking for so that he could leave early for church with Papa. I had a smile on my face, but I was a bit perturbed on the inside, with my lazy side not wanting to get out of bed. I found the shirt and started to walk out of the room when Siah said my name. I turned around and he looked right into me and said so sweetly, "Thank you for helping me Mom."
He has this gift of encouragement that makes me feel like I'm the coolest person ever even when I am so aware of the fact that I NOT. When I went WAY out of my comfort zone and painted our dining room bright green, he told me over and over again that I was doing "such a great job painting." "It's gonna look great Mom... It already does look great Mom." He has so many nice things to say.

And although we have not mastered reading quite yet... I don't regret having my Siah home with me this year. As frustrating as teaching someone to read can be, we're getting there. We WILL get there. We stay diligent in the process despite ourselves. My Joey reminds me daily that our little boy won't be 25 and unable to read.
But having him home has given me the privilege of discovering so many of my Siah's strengths... things that I just might not have had the opportunity to recognize had we not spent the bulk of our days together.

This counting gifts... well... it kinda saves me on days when I just want to quit. It reminds me of God's wildest grace falling on this Mama who often feels at a total loss. There is joy in the chaos. There is hope when all seems lost.

*This past friday... a TEAR FREE day of school in the Clark home... Like she so wisely declares, Thanksgiving ALWAYS precedes the miracle!
*A Mama and four treasures riding through the snow in bathing suits... a morning at the YMCA heated, indoor pool.
* Reesie laughing her deep, man laugh, happy splashing wild.
*Siah and Hal flying down the slide at light speed and coming up all smiles.
* Prayer on the couch, in the dark, with My Joey... dreams laid bare and filled with hope before him and my Jesus.
*A Saturday, with no sickness.
*Laying on our stomachs, My Siah and I, watching the snow fall, listening to David Crowder, and talking all silly.

*Siah comes up to me, rests his head on my shoulders, wraps one arm around my back and whispers in my ear,
"Mom, I love it when you call me sweet heart."

* Three little treasures working together to empty the dishwasher.

* Scanning a clean house before running out the door to make it to church ON TIME... Yipee!
Thanksgiving precedes another miracle!

*Garden dreams and the best gardening book for children and parents that has sparked in me a great anticipation for June...