Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two Lessons from an Eleven Year Old

Having faith like a child. It has been more than that from my oldest. He has become the teacher. It has caused me to think deeply about many of my positions and statements. It has been humbling.
This year, the eldest has taken a vested interested, rather, determined to be friends with everyone in his class, from the quasi-bully to the meek to the semi-irritating. This is a trait he exhibited a bit last year. I have been highly supportive of this effort. That is, until he determined himself to be closely associated with the child that might be deemed "troubled." He began to tell me the story of how he realized this boy didn't have many friends and was seldom alone in class, the lunchroom, etc. I began questioning him if that were such the wise choice. I thought, "Oh no, the other boys will no longer want to be his friend. He will be assumed to be along the lines of this boy. He will lose his position in class." I began to question him to help him see the light. it was my job to help him navigate the tricky social waters of middle school. He need to make sure to rotate through all the boys, not lingering with this one too long. Then, my wise son said, "Mom, why do you not want me to sit with him? Isn't that the first place Jesus would sit? You know, Mom, this boy is actually really nice. I feel blessed to have been able to sit with him the past couple of days. He doesn't care about being popular, or being cool. He is real, Mom." I sat there with my head very low. He was right. He was doing what mattered. My position was completely and totally wrong. Lesson #1

The eldest is going through his first 12 week band rotation. All the kids were able to try out various instruments and then list their first and second choices down on paper. A few days later instruments were distributed much to the delight and dismay of their new owners (or rather renters as the school owns the instruments). My son proudly popped into the back seat of the car with...a trumpet. Thrilled at the prospect of the instrument that he had in his possession, he quickly undid the case, put the trumpet together and blared a half-way decent note in the car. Ouch to my ears, but he was clearly over the moon. Later that evening, his father learned of the trumpet. Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, Jay has always had a desire to blow a trumpet and learn to play. He had the eldest to bring the trumpet to him. Jay picked it up, took one big breath and...nothing. Over and over again Jay tried to create any sort of sound roughly related to the horn to come from the trumpet Nothing. Ethan patiently advised him, encouraged him, and cheered him on. Ethan held onto the sides of his mouth where air was escaping. Still, nothing. I found the entire situation rather amusing. I don't recall ever having seen Jay not be able to achieve something he wanted. My laughter was fairly continuous. Ethan, however, settled me down and continue to "work" with Jay. Seeing Ethan so patiently and encouragingly deal with Jay stopped me in my tracks. This is how God intends us to train our children. In the end, Ethan didn't ridicule his father for being such a failure at the instrument, but offered up that maybe Jay's lips were just too big and that one day he just knew he would do it. Lesson #2

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