As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

You Must Have Been Praying For Me

One of my boys has a problem with being easily distracted.  He could sit at the kitchen table with his books for an entire day and hardly get anything done, because every little fancy that pops into his mind causes him to run off in search of the wonder it has sparked in his imagination. He is content almost to a fault in that regard, and I have spent many years wondering just how to get him to be able to focus when it is necessary.  It's not that I am always looking to stifle his imagination - on the contrary.  I admire it, and the outlook he has on life.  I often say I want to be like him when I grow up!  But as a parent I want to help teach him that there are times when it is okay to indulge your imagination, and other times when it is important to maintain your focus, even if that takes work.

He has actually been doing really well in the past few weeks, so much so that I was surprised today when he had finished all but one subject, and got stuck on the last. He spent two hours with just two pages of math left to finish (and I had even circled only the even numbered problems, so he only had half of what was on each page to do).  He got sent to bed early last night due to an unfortunate scuffle with his sister (as did she) and it devastated him, so the threat of going to bed early tonight if he didn't finish his homework and his laundry (which was supposed to have been done at 3:00 pm like the rest of the kids did) was, I hoped, sufficient motivation to kick him into high gear.  Still he struggled the rest of the afternoon, any time his baby brother crawled up to the table next to him, or a bird flew outside the window, or he took notice of a mark on the wall he had never seen before that was in the shape of something that made him smile.  Time ticked away and there he sat, working little by very little, and taking everything in at a snail's pace.

At about 4:53 pm he announced to my delight that he was finished.  When he saw the time he said, "Oh shoot, but I have to do my laundry, I won't make it!"  "Go on down and do it," I said, having secretly resolved that I would let him stay up anyway since his school work was done in time. He began to protest that he did not have enough time, but I just encouraged him to go anyway and he went.  A few moments later he shouted up to me from the basement that there was just one piece of laundry in his basket and it wasn't his, and a smile crossed my face as I informed him, "well then I guess you're off the hook."  No need to even worry about not being consistent, I thought.  He made it.

On his way out the door to play with the other kids, he joyfully exclaimed to me, "you must have been praying for me!"  I smiled and walked over to the stairs to be greeted by the joyful little face of a boy who had just experienced a miracle.  "I didn't want to go to bed early and I was working so hard, and you must have been praying for me because all of my laundry was done when I got there!"  I told him I always pray for him, which is true, but I must confess that in that moment I did not say any extra prayers - it had not even occurred to me.  And yet here he was, just so certain that God's intervention was what had spared him the consequence he desperately wanted to avoid.  "You should thank God for taking such good care of you," I encouraged him. "I already did," he beamed, and happily went outside to join his siblings.

Turns out God had secret plans of His own to give my boy a way out of his problem. This school-time distractedness has been a huge issue in our household for a long time and I have blown up at him many times in desperation as he gets older, wondering just when he will be able to focus on his own. And today, faced with what must be for him one of his most difficult struggles, when he discovered the circumstances were in his favour his instinct was to thank God, and to trust in my prayers for him.  It wasn't enough to be grateful that he didn't have to go to bed - he was grateful to God.  God's involvement in the most vulnerable area of his life was a given to him.

As a parent I often wonder whether faith really makes a difference to my children.  I bring them to church and integrate prayer into our daily life, but it has always been a struggle for me to figure out just how to help them understand that Jesus is a real person they can have a relationship with, not just a set of rules to follow or devotions to say.  Tonight, I was able to see that it is making a difference.  That when he is really worried or afraid of losing something, God is the one he turns to.  What a joy it was to me to see his little face so happy.  It was the face of someone who trusted the Lord, and whose trust was rewarded.  He could not have been more proud.  And I could not have been more grateful.  For while he gained a later bedtime, I gained a valuable look into the heart of my boy.  And I am so happy to see the King residing there.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:16-18)

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