Sometimes life is hard. We are faced with difficult decisions, wearying trials, and it's hard to find peace, joy, and contentment. However, those difficult decisions are a thousand times harder to make when it involves our children. Roger and I have dedicated each of our children to the Lord, and I often have to remind myself to not take them back from Him. Jesus sometimes asks me, "Sarah, do you trust me?" Sometimes I reply, "Of course, Lord, but before I commit 100% what are you asking from me?" That's not the proper response, of course, but sometimes -often- I have to fight the flesh.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The whole truth of the matter is that God loves my children more than I do. He loved them, and me and you, enough to send His only son to die for our sins...that's an amazing love! But sometimes love is faced with difficult decisions, and that I see where I was this week.
Last week on Friday, I met with Wyatt's teacher. Roger was at work, and we met during the art class hour at school. I had my two youngest children with me, which makes meetings interesting, but they did very well. Wyatt has been struggling for a while now in the school. His teacher was giving him extra reading lessons twice a week, but Wyatt still wasn't mastering the material. He has been working so hard in school. He's been coming home, and he has been writing out his spelling list several times, asking me questions about things he didn't understand, and asking to stay up late to study extra. He is in second grade! His teacher commented on how hard Wyatt has been working, but he still is not passing the class. We've know for a while that Wyatt has struggled with reading. He took speech lessons for two years in Wisconsin, and I didn't feel like he was a strong reader at the end of last year. However, when the suggestion was brought up that perhaps Wyatt should repeat first grade, I cried. Oh, how I cried! I cried for my sweet little boy who has been working so hard, I cried because of the struggle it's been. I cried because I felt like I failed him. I cried because I knew how disappointed he would be if we decided to make the choice to move him back. And even now, almost a week later, I still have watery eyes. Travis asked me if my eyes were okay, and Emma kept asking me, "mommy, okay?" Wyatt's teacher is filled with love and compassion for her students. I knew any suggestion that she made was in Wyatt's best interest. But it's still hard to hear that we needed to make a decision about whether or not to keep him where he was or move him back. Nothing was decided verbally at the meeting due in part to Roger's absence, but I knew what my decision would be before I left. Would we pray about it? Oh yes, many, many times in the next few days, however, in my heart of hearts I knew God was asking me, "Do you trust me?"
I wore my sunglasses the rest of the afternoon simply because I didn't want Wyatt to question me. The "mommy guilt" was almost overwhelming at times as I questioned my homeschooling abilities. Did I not give him enough last year? What if someone else had been his teacher the past two years? How would Wyatt respond? Maybe our kids are struggling because I just didn't do a good job? Oh, the struggles I had racing around in my mind. I know how hard I worked at homeschooling, I know the hours my mom and I put into education, but how the doubts flew!
When we got home, I went over again all the papers from Wyatt's classes. I reviewed the grades, saw the struggles, and revivisted my decision. And I prayed. I prayed for Gods peace to surround us both. I prayed for his love to encircle us. I prayed for Wyatt to chose to trust us, as I was learning again to trust my Heavenly Father.
Roger and I prayed and discussed what we should do, and I explained that really how could we make any other decision except to move him back to first grade. Reading is the foundation for so many
things, and if Wyatt loses confidence in his ability to do school in second grade, I feared that his frustration would only build. Roger has had many struggles with past education experiences, so he knew what a big decision we were making. But Roger also knew from his past how much better it would've been if he had really mastered some concepts early on in his education.
So, we made the decision to move Wyatt back to first grade. Now the next hard step...to tell our young son of our decision. Roger had to work on Saturday, and there is no way that I was telling Wyatt on my own. However, it gave me a chance to talk to my sister, Jennifer. Always practical, her response was "Someone has to be the oldest kid in the class. This is not the end of the world. If it's best for Wyatt, do it." It was reassuring to hear from my sister, also a teacher, how it's really not the end of the world to go back a grade.
By Sunday afternoon, Roger and I knew we had to find a moment to talk to Wyatt. We brought the school papers, and asked him about school. He told us that he enjoyed school, but it was really hard. We discussed his current grades, and asked him about going back to first grade. Oh, how the tears fell! He was adamant that he did not want to go back to first grade. We explained how it's not the end of the world, and he would still be in the same class with the same teacher. He was not convinced. Finally, I asked him, "Do you trust Mom and Dad to make the best choice for you?" He replied "Yes, but I don't want to go back to first grade." We prayed with him, encouraged him, and told him why we thought this would be the best decision. After discussing it a bit longer, he asked if one of us would take him on a date. Roger wasn't feeling that good on Sunday, so I agreed to take him on a date. Roger said he would meet us at church, and then go back home with Emma. I was a bit suspicious that Wyatt wanted to go on a date to see if he could convince us to change our minds. But that wasn't really the case. He was sad and really just needed some extra love and encouragement. He did ask me if maybe he came home and worked on school work then he could stay in second grade. I told him that I wanted him to be able to be a boy and come home and play. Working on extra stuff every once in a while is fine, but he needed to remember that he is seven not seventy. He shed a few more tears before bed that night, but he seemed to be willing to trust us.
On Monday morning, I told his teacher that we had made our decision. She asked me several times I feel we were sure. Although I was in tears, I assured her that we had spent much time in prayer, and we had made our decision. She said that the change would take place on Tuesday morning if we were confident in our decision. When Wyatt came home, he realized that he had a different spelling list. I reminded him of our decision. Although he was initially upset, by the time Roger came home from work, he seemed to be excited that maybe he could get a one hundred on his spelling test. I was a little worried about how Tuesday would go, but Wyatt faced the challenge head on. He had a good attitude, his teacher worked hard to make the transition as smooth as possible.
On Wednesday, Wyatt had a pre-test for spelling. If he made a one hundred he would not need to take the test on Friday. "Mom, I made a 100% on my spelling test!", were his first words to me when I picked him up. I was so excited for him! His week has been full of good grades as well as a fabulous attitude, and I am so proud of him. Roger and I have been praying for him to make this transition well, and the Lord has been answering our prayers.
Travis announced to me yesterday, "Mom, I know why you decided to put Wyatt back in first grade." I was like, "oh, really?" He replied, " Yeah, it's because I love him and this way we can be in the same class next year." (Grade one and two are combined, so they will be in the same classroom next year.) Well, that's not exactly the reason, but I'm thankful for the brotherly love.
So, once again, I learned a lesson in trusting my Heavenly Father. Although this was a painful decision to make, and I still struggle with feeling like I failed my son, God is faithful. He has brought us joy and laughter this week. I'm at peace with knowing that God directed us in our decision, and this was the best choice for Wyatt. Although we probably still have a few more bumps in the road as we transition, we rejoice in the faithfulness of God and his tender mercies toward us.