“Mommy Triage: when you have a crisis moment and have to figure out which fire to put out first – always chose your child. It’s just a math lesson. It’s only a writing assignment. Nothing more.”
I took the picture above as a reminder.
At the end of this past school year, we had a bad day. One of my children was in tears over an English/writing assignment. They were convinced it was too hard and would take “forever.” Normally I would plow through and insist they did it, along with me raising my voice and them eventually crying. However, that day I remembered the above quote from a book I had read at the beginning of the school year, “Teaching from Rest.” Instead of insisting we complete the lesson and my to-do list I said, “Okay. We are going to take a break and come back to it tomorrow.” The next day without a tear or complaint, the child sat down and wrote the report. Was it perfect? No. Precious reminder? Yes.
It showed me that sometimes we all need a day of grace. A chance to hit the reset button with no yelling or judgment. Sometimes I am so intent on completing my list that I don’t see the child in front of me.
Yes, there are times I lay down the law and deal with attitudes. In fact, I did it just the other day when a math lesson drug on for four hours amidst sighs and whining. Somedays though, with some lessons, it’s best to lay it down for a day. However, that is super hard for my type A, love for lists, personality.
Teaching from Rest also points out:
“How we interact with our children while using the material matters far more than whether or not we get through it… Can you hit the pause button on your frustration long enough to realize that people rank infinitely higher than anything else on the list? Have you considered that God may have scooted these people into view for the very purpose of slowing you down?”
I don’t handle interruptions very well, but it’s getting better since I’ve said yes to less and have more time and margin to use. It still is so hard though; so, I keep that picture as a reminder. If I had insisted that day that we continue the lesson, we would have completed a page, but not learned much. My checklist would have been complete, but we wouldn’t have gained useful knowledge. What’s more, my child and I would have probably have had a rift between us.
Whenever I see butterflies, I can’t help but think of children. Just like butterflies, they spread beauty and joy wherever they go. They are stronger than they look, yet still so fragile. They need just the right conditions to thrive. Butterflies need the sun and to constantly be eating…just like my kids need the light of God and a steady diet of his word.
So, as we start this new school year, I am trying to restructure my priorities. My goal this year is to make sure that my focus is on my children, and not whether we can read the word “bag” or know how to calculate 1457 x 3488. I believe if I focus on them and not as much on the lesson plan, we will truly learn and grow closer to each other and God. When I focus on them, I will be entuned with their needs and not on what books say they need.
You may not homeschool, a lot of people don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the above thought. Even if you don’t homeschool, you can still give someone grace who is having a bad day. Maybe you’re not even a mom, but you still get interrupted by people. God puts all kind of people into our paths who need help. In fact, we probably see them as an interruption at first; however, instead of seeing them as an interruption, we should view them as an opportunity from God to help others.
How about you? Are your priorities to complete your tasks, or is it to help others grow mentally or spiritually? Let me know, what steps you take to focus on individuals instead of the task.