My daughter just confessed to me that she used to ask me to sit in a certain spot while doing flashcards so that she could see through them.
Was I really that dumb?
Sadly, yes, but I am secretly happy because I am certain we would still be sitting there had she not done that.
You see, flashcards with her were enough to make me think that I wouldn’t mind if I only had a few years left to live. They used to go something like this –
Me: “Makayla, what is 2 + 2?”
Makayla: “ ”
Me: “Makayla, what is 2 + 2?”
Makayla: “ ”
What is 2 + 2?!!!!”
Makayla: “You have a spot on your shirt.”
Me: “I don’t care about the stinking spot, and I don’t want you to care either. What. is. 2. +. 2.?!"
Makayla: “ ” ...while staring longingly out the window.
It didn’t help that our house overlooked farmland, and the window was squarely in the middle of the room.
Me: “MAKAYLA! IT IS SCHOOL TIME!!”
Makayla: “Look at that pretty bird. Can I go see it?”
One day, I kid you not, as this was going on, she spotted an emu. I didn’t even know we had emus in Nebraska. I had been trying to convince her that there was never anything nearly as interesting as school out the window to look and this did not help my cause.
Recently, I asked her how she has liked school through the years, and she said she’s liked everything–but not flashcards.
If I could go back and talk to my flashcard holding self, I would tell myself to enjoy Makayla a little more and to worry a little less about how the process looked.
I would say that the little flashcard hating, emu, bird, ladybug, spider, blowing grass, wildflower, tractor, cloud, sun, butterfly, gnat spotting girl would grow to love math and to know her math facts.
I would tell myself that the spunk I see in Makayla is part of the beauty that God has created.
You see, sometimes as moms, we are so afraid of messing things up, we forget to enjoy our kids.
There is a heaviness that so many moms are under because there is so much pressure to do it right, whatever it is.
The standard is always moving, and it changes depending on what circle you are in.
If you’re in homeschooling circles,it’s homeschooling things like what curriculum you use, how connected you are, how many field trips you take, or how many chickens you mummify.
In sports circles, it’s how many sports your kids play, which select teams they are on, how many games they’ve won, and how loud you are at the games.
In academic circles, it’s what clubs your kids are in, how smart they are, what grades they get, and what school they go to.
I don’t have to list them all because we know what they are.
Every circle has different expectations. Sometimes we are living in several circles at once.
No wonder we’re tired!
No wonder our children and our families are tired!
We are using standards and measures we were never meant to use. Most of those things simply don’t matter in the long run.
Chasing the right things in the wrong seasons will distract us from the important things in the season at hand. As a result, our calendars fill up, but we run on empty.
Sometimes the things we are chasing are important, but maybe not for that season.
The well-known story of Mary and Martha illustrates this beautifully.
In Luke 10:38-42, Mary and Martha welcomed Jesus into their home.
Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but Martha was busy preparing. In verse 40, it says that she was “distracted.” Annoyed that Mary wasn’t helping, Martha pleaded with Jesus to tell Mary to help. Jesus replied in verses 41 and 42, “Martha, Martha, You are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her.”
Here is the thing: what Martha was doing was important. It was very important in fact. She was preparing for her guests, BUT Jesus was in the house. In THAT moment, and on THAT day, the important thing was sitting at His feet.
Are there times to worry about housework, preparations, academics, flashcards, sports and those things?
But when those things take the place of connecting with those around us in meaningful ways, connecting with Him, and are keeping us from what is truly important on a regular basis, then we have come to the place where we are “worried and bothered about so many things.” We have lost sight of what is truly important.
Word of the day: “Martha, Martha you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Prayer: God, I thank you that You know my schedule, my family and my life. Thank you that even though sometimes I have a hard time sifting through what is important in my day, You do not. Forgive me for being “worried and bothered about so many things” that I have not chosen the “good parts.” Help me to have eyes to see the important moments in my day and the wisdom to lay down those things that are not. Amen.
Author: Wendy Gerdes