Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of things you need to teach your child? Everything from character to personal hygiene to long division to why Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon to how to pump on a swing -- man, sometimes that just feels like a tall, tall order. There are moments when I feel like a one-woman band, and am absolutely positive that one of the snare drums on my back ain't gonna get hit, baby.
Especially since we homeschool. I can't fall back on, "Oh, her teacher will cover 'how to put on your jacket without bunching up your sleeves' or 'how to play in a group without excluding anyone.'
But then I have other moments, probably the truer ones, when I realize that there are things I'm not meant to do, areas in which I cannot suffice -- and that's a good thing.
Last Saturday, my eldest participated in a Bible Quiz competition with his AWANA club. He and one other boy represented the fourth grade males for our club, and I'd love to say we studied hard every single day, but I'd been lying to you. See discussion above.
But he did prepare decently, and on Saturday we shoved off at some unholy hour for the competition, armed with bagels and cream cheese.
He did well in the multiple choice round -- I know, since I was a scorekeeper (not for him).
Then came the bright lights, the big city -- no, just the bright lights. Of the stage, that is. About twelve boys, perched on the stage in front of a sanctuary full of beaming onlookers. All armed with buzzers that would light up a screen when pushed. First one to buzz in gets to answer. Only word-perfect answers accepted. (Oh, in case you're wondering, participating in the Quiz was totally his choice.)
And he did pretty well -- but not as well as he wanted. He answered three questions and got two wrong (minor wording issues), which meant he had to leave the stage. The moderator could not have been more kind and encouraging to the kids, letting them know that any effort they made was worthy of praise, and the audience applauded every attempt, successful or not.
But my guy -- oh, he was not pleased. As he slid into the pew next to me, I could see the puffy eyeballs glowing Grief Red. Other kids may have accepted defeat with equanimity, but that's never been the name of his game. As I opened my mouth to begin my sympathetic chat about his going up to bat being the whole point, and some kids not even taking a swing, but if you swing sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss, blah blah blah, three adults swooped in. Three leaders from our club, dedicated parents who show up week after week to shepherd these kids because they care and they're called, period.
One of them's tall. Really tall. Like maybe 6'5". He leaned in, made contact with those tearful blue eyes, and spoke seriously to him.
"Ian. You have NO reason to hang your head. You got up there and gave it your best. You hid God's word in your heart, and that's the whole point. We are all very, very proud of you." Each word flew like a balm-tipped arrow, finding its mark in a disappointed heart. The other two adults spoke a few more words of encouragement to my son, as I wiped my own tears of gratitude away.
Within ten minutes, my boy was sitting, dry-eyed, in the hallway playing with another boy on his DS. He never said another word about that supposed "failure," and neither did I.
It was unnecessary. As it turns out, I can stop worrying about that snare drum. The Lord may have extra work getting this truth through my thick skull .... but there are plenty of other players in this band.
P.S. This photo was taken immediately after the competition. Would you ever guess that it's the boy on the RIGHT who didn't do as well as he'd hoped?