"To Do" or "To Be", that is the Question!
Today started off much like any other day. I taught my early morning classes, came upstairs, fed Baby B and refereed a kitchen cage match between my middle daughter and son. After the tears and "but moms" subsided, we moved on to taking Baby B for a short walk down our street. The other neighborhood kids were out playing so my kids just blended in and played while I chatted with moms and babysitters. When it was time to go, my middle daughter (Squishy B) was in tears again. We came home and sorted through the drama and emotions that typify young girl friendships. It turns out that my sweet, outgoing, social butterfly, happy-go-lucky kid was dealing with some emotions that were a little too big for her. She was feeling a little left out and a lot jealous and that was causing her to be not so nice sometimes. We talked about being a good friend and listening and being kind. We talked about being okay with not always being included, being gracious, and responding in kindness.
As we were wrapping up our talk, a friend came to the door asking if Squishy B could come out to play. We were supposed to be starting our math lessons just then but sometimes what we are "supposed" to do is not what we need to do. At that moment, Squishy needed to practice her friendship skills. She needed the immediate reinforcement of the life-lesson she just learned. Math could wait! It should always be in the forefront of our minds that we are not just educating a student, we are building a person. The "To-Do" list takes a back seat to the "To-Be" list.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.
It's so easy to get caught up in the measurable instruction of math and phonics and social studies. We can see immediate results. We know right away that they have learned something. But the Bible does not say, "Teach a child math and when he is old, he will be a genius." Our first and most important job is to raise our children to be who God made them to be. Character is so much harder to teach than a curriculum! It takes longer to see the results, it requires constant review and reteaching, and it forces us to face our own flaws. We cannot measure the results with a paper test. But be assured, life will test them! These skills cannot be neglected. The letters will be learned, the math will be mastered. The children will not be children forever - redeem the time wisely!