Remember those really great credit card commercials?

Plane ticket to Orlando…1500$

Hotel Room…150$

3 family generations at Disney World…priceless.

I don’t quite remember all the specifics of them but I remember thinking could spending money really make priceless moments?  Of course, yes they can…I think of the parents of Olympians who spent everything to get their teen or young adult to that goal.  Or the girl with a dream to be a rodeo barrel racer so her parents scrimp everything to get her a horse and land to train on.  Truth is, there’s a lot of those great goals and moments that were brought to you either by cash or credit.

I’ve had one of those this week.

One of my greatest challenge in the midst of my last months has been what to do with my middle boy.  I was losing him scholastically.   A completely different learner than my daughter, facing focus and perseverance issues, I could not get his heart motivated to learn how to read.  As each day has drawn us closer to his 7th birthday, I felt the tightening grip of sorrow, fear and dismay as I knew I was failing him.  As a mom.  As his teacher.  As his champion.  I have been constantly spinning my wheels late at night trying to think of how I was going to teach him without robbing him of joy and ruining a love of learning.

With our homeschool on light duty during our CC break, I knew this was a time God was giving me to pursue my son with reading.  I pulled out all the homeschooling books I had gotten when I first started with my daughter, refreshing myself with the things I’ve forgotten or the things I ignored with my first child because it didn’t apply to her.

By doing so, I was reminded that my wonderful son (and spouse) are accidental learners.  These are the kids who figure out the world concretely…and lessons are learned through experimentation or implementation (oops…jumping off that hurts), but they have a very hard time learning theory without practical output.  They generally learn to reach a goal, not because they just love to do it.  And I had been treating him as if he was like his sister…who is completely opposite.

Four days ago I sat down with my son and we had a talk about school.  Instead of thinking I knew him, I asked him what he likes and doesn’t like about reading.  I found out he prefers to do it without me sitting next to him because it makes him nervous.  That he likes to do it on my computer or phone instead of in a textbook.   I asked him if he would like to earn something as he accomplishes his reading goals.  Short-term and long term.  I suggested some Legos or treats or some other toy.  His excitement at being able to learn for a new toy was overwhelming.  We spent the morning picking out several small Lego sets, printing their pictures and a calendar with his reading goals on it.  I showed him a new online reading program that talked to him and gives him lessons complete with words, blends, and sight words in sentences.  I told him how to read and try it first himself, and then to click the words to see if he got them correct.  And I explained I wouldn’t sit next to him, but will be “around” to hear him to make sure he isn’t cheating.

Three days ago our system started.  He woke up and even before breakfast he asked to get his lesson done.  He then excitedly explained his new system to his Dad, after he got off of work.

Two days ago, after his first lesson was done, he asked if he could do another one to earn another smiley face.  With an internal sigh of stress relief…I whole-heartedly agreed.  I quietly warned my spouse that if this continues I will buy a plethora of small Lego sets in the next 6 months and he is not allowed to complain.

Yesterday, Isaac happily and faithfully did another lesson at 7:30am.  We weren’t home for much of the day so he didn’t have time to do 2.

This morning, after breakfast, he started his lesson and moved straight into the next.  He had reached and exceeded his first goal for November.  He sat with me as we went online and ordered his first small Lego figure.  He found December’s and January’s goals also.  Which I ordered also.

3 Lego sets from Amazon…40$

My boy motivated to read….priceless.

5 Things I’ve (re)learned…

In this frantic-busy-cling-to-grace-and-forgiveness-or-give-it-up season of life, I’ve (re)learned some things.  I thought to share them since most likely I will forget them in the next weeks and God will have to teach them to me all over again.

1)  I know nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  What I thought I knew about my kids, my faith, my heart, my work, my homeschooling…all of it has been a deck of cards shuffled.  Personality conflicts (and sin) in the home, mood swings (and sin), learning style struggles (and sin), and completely out of my hands circumstances on a regular basis (and sin), has challenged every Biblical principle I hold dear.  For we are but of yesterday and know nothing,  for our days on earth are a shadow. (Job 8:9, ESV)

2)  I am nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2, ESV)   Love (God’s love) is life.  I have done everything I possibly could to squelch the love of God in my heart and towards others with my pet sins and pet idols, instead of allowing Him to love others through me.

3)  I can do nothing.  N-O-T-H-I-N-G.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.(John 15:5, ESV)  All that I thought I accomplished on my own strength has withered and died.  That which has been Spirit-led has remained.  Unfortunately, it’s far less than what I thought.  It is most disheartening to realize after many weeks of effort, bad motives have robbed all eternal value from it.

4)  He is everything.  E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV)  When I forget (intellectually or functionally) who it is all for…plans, errands, work, family, myself, my time, even my kids!…I place an idol on His throne.  He is first…and He holds it together.

5)  He alone is my peace.  They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon. (Hosea 14:7, ESV)  No matter how far I stray, I can return to the safety and provision of the Lord.  It’s not wealth or glory He promises, but a home in Him, growth, fruit and a good name.

My mind, heart and practical life are still a whirlwind needing to settle, but these things have been painfully learned (or relearned) in this season of life.  I’m sure I will relearn them again.  And again.  Lord grant that I may always return to dwell beneath His shadow.