Let me start with sharing I have three children. Three unique, individual, exclusive, extraordinary children. All of which contain inherent gifts, inborn traits, distinctive strengths, and innate weaknesses.
To my continual amazement, I have two kiddos who find school enjoyable, compelling and satisfying. School academics, school rules, school protocols, school structure-- it's as if they were hand designed with these two young ones in mind and developed them according to their likes and dislikes. According to their wants and needs. According to their abilities and capabilities.
Their little hearts thrive in the classroom setting--obtaining recognition, assurance, fulfillment and purpose. And as a result, the flawless grades, the continual applause, the constant praise; they all become a natural byproduct of the school's structure, environment and DNA.
But, I also have another child. A child, too, with extraordinary skills, inherent talent, limitless energy, uncommon intelligence.
Truly, I've never witnessed a mind such as this. A mind wired for detail. A mind wired for inventions. A mind wired for developments. A mind wired for curiosity. A mind that orbits around mine faster than the speed of light. His intelligence far exceeds that of all five of us Lee's put together.
And yet, school is difficult for this one. Torturous, really. To say it's a constant struggle, is an understatement.
And, truthfully, his grades often reflect it. No matter how many on-time homework assignments, obedience to classroom rules, good-behaviors, character uprightness-- it all falls to the wayside when test after test, fail after fail, reminds him he's not smart like the others. Not bright like the others. Not intelligent like the others. Not sharp like the others.
And no matter how often, how deliberate, how passionate we and his empathetic teachers share truth of who he is, he has the red-marker capital F written across his latest classroom test to prove us wrong, and simultaneously, across his fractured heart.
But there's more. Isn't there? Yes, you know. You know If you're the parent who sits with your child night after night--confirming, repeating, whispering, chiseling into their sweet little confused ear the truths of who they are; that it's not what tests reveal, not what peers assume, not what honor society deems honorable.
Yep, you know the truth of that perfectly, hand-crafted, hand-designed, masterpiece of God's doing. You know with all certainty that your child never ceases to amaze you. And even though society, peers, honor roll tell him otherwise, you know his talent, his strengths, his cleverness, his competence, his quickness, his entrepreneurial mentality, his ability to make you belly-laugh harder than any other human being, far exceeds that of any honorable academic recognition needed.
His gentle Heavenly Father, the same One who makes no mistakes, no junk, no mishaps, knit him just as•he•is and with a smile across His satisfied face, said "it is good." He is good. He is enough. Just as he is.
And so, to you wearied, concerned, exhausted, frustrated parent of a child who struggles in school, please know this-- God has already written your child's story. This small hurdle in his/her story will be used to equip, prepare and enable your child to succeed at that which has already been paved out before them. Their destination, their calling, their purpose-- it's bigger than their latest Spanish quiz. This test, amongst the countless others, does not define her worth, represent her value or designate her acceptance. But it does provide her with a rich, deep, abundant life-skill of empathy, sensitivity and compassion to a hurting world desperate for a drop of encouragement and a source of hope to others who struggle as she did.
And truthfully, isn't character, love, compassion and empathy the very virtues of a life well lived?
It's definitely possible to have both academic success as well as Godly character; and I wholeheartedly pray my children obtain both in full measure. But if I had to choose one over the other, I'd choose that which God deems far more necessary and generationally impacting in the lives of His children-- the heart within.