The youngest, a 2nd grader, is embracing what is, in her mind, her biggest challenge yet—cursive handwriting (name covered below to protect the innocent).
I remember my own experience with cursive writing in elementary school; in fact, Handwriting was my first “B.” Fast-forwarding many, many years, I can remember that the oldest began writing in cursive in 1st grade at the school she attended at the time. And though I’m also aware of curriculum that teaches cursive from the onset, I deliberately delayed this transition to give the two younger children more time to perfect their printing. I said all of that to say that you’d think this would be no big deal—just another new thing to learn, right? I would think there’d be more drama regarding preschool—phonics, writing, adding. For a small child, these are tough concepts! Yet, for some reason, my youngest has agonized about writing in cursive. “Noooooooooo!!!,” she says. “Why do I have to do this? Why can’t I just stay with what I already know??!!!”
You’d have to appreciate the dynamics of our relationship to visualize what’s taken place over the last few months. The youngest is dramatic with a capital “D.” If a situation deserves an ounce of emotion, she’ll give it a pound. This is a kid who recently watched a television show about a teen who had to had wisdom teeth removed, and she whined and fretted all night about the horrors of dental surgery; did I mention that she’s only 7? And her mom? Well, as one whose presentation was once described as “stoic,” my level-headedness grows quickly annoyed with theatrics. Of course, I must say that there are advantages to being dramatic; she is my most expressive reader.
Meanwhile, as we wrapped up the last pages of manuscript practice, it took everything I had to balance being an encouraging, compassionate teacher with being a will-you-give-it-a-rest-already mom. Each day as we opened the new workbook, I found myself saying, “C’mon, it’s not so bad,” and the occasional “Look at you!” after some specific guidance. With a few weeks under our belts, she’s embraced cursive after some initial success with the first couple of vowels and now thinks she’s the best “o” writer on planet Earth. 🙂
I watched her today, and, like a bolt of lightening, I had this epiphany about myself and my own response to change. My challenges are different, but her cycle of emotions is not unlike those of my own when presented with something new and unfamiliar. I think about the challenges that have come our way just this year. The Lord says to us:
I’m going to strip away some things that make you comfortable—old jobs, old friends, and your other idols comforts.
I’m going to place you in situations that are unfamiliar, that cause you to trust not in things or people, but in Me—new jobs, new relationships, new heights in your faith.
I’m going to expose some heart issues in people you admire.
“Noooooooooo!!!” I say. “Why do I have to do this? Why can’t I just stay with what I already know??!!!”
I am glad that He does not struggle with being an encouraging, compassionate teacher versus being a will-you-give-it-a-rest-already parent. His love for me shows me a higher standard of patience, kindness, of being not easily provoked. His mercy endures forever. So as I sit with the youngest, I have a new perspective on how to respond to a new challenge.
‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; acknowledge Him in all thy ways, and He will direct thy paths.’
‘All things work for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.’
‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’
I usually get an in-the-moment test of how well I’ve really learned these lessons right after I “preach” to others. Truly, I’d be okay if the Lord just marked this lesson with a pass and let me move forward (smile). I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, may the Lord find me faithful when He says, “C’mon, t’s not so bad,” and the occasional “Look at you!” after some specific guidance. God bless.