Friday, January 8, 2010

plowing, chiseling

A miraculous thing.  Suddenly, Peter reads fluently, beautifully.  While always at grade level, he lacked speed and fluency.  What a precious thing, listening to him read!  I couldn't stop kissing his head today while he read through a long story.  Softly spoken praise words spilled from me.  

In truth, I wanted to get out of my seat and jump up and down, shouting to all the world that my Peter had made it to the top of a mountain.

Instead, I settled for putting my arm around him, patting his shoulder, kissing his hair.  He finished and I grew more animated, asking him if he noticed anything different about his reading.  As I offered up more and more praise, he seemed quietly pleased.

Oh, I realize these things don't happen suddenly.  The dots start connecting at very young ages and spurts like these come every so often, resulting from steady work.  They only seem sudden.

Usually, I'm the only one elated over such events.  The students?  They seem unaware of how far they've come.  They scratch their heads at the teacher's sudden elation.  What's gotten into her?

Teary moments like this?  The teacher lives for them.  Even after years of teaching these moments still delight--each time feels like the first time.

The early reading phase challenges both teacher and student. It can be long, arduous--like jogging around the same track, day after day.  No variety.  No end in sight.

Then one day, long, fluent stories flow from the mouth of babes.

Brand-new adventures await the fluent reader.  No more stumbling, no more fatigue.  Books become something to devour rather than something to plow through.

This whole phenomenon reminds me of the Lord's work in my heart.  Lofty virtues like quietness or steadfastness at first seem like steep, jagged mountains.  How will I ever get there?  I'm too flawed...too weak.  I can't do it.

But He is faithful to continue his steady, daily work.  Lovingly, he stretches us.  We feel uncomfortable, bent out of shape at times, from his chiseling.

One day a virtue takes root in us.  We go about our tasks, unaware of the change....not realizing how far we've come.

But He rejoices.

No, quietness and steadfastness have not taken root in me.  Yet.  They are just examples.  But I do feel the chiseling.

At dinner tonight I asked everyone what their favorite part of the day had been.  Peter replied first, "Reading with Mommy."  While he didn't understand my elation, exactly, he did soak it in.  What a blessing!

I failed in my parenting in some respects today.  But for thirty minutes, I was a perfect mother to Peter.

I have to ask you, Lord, to make the most of these moments, in their hearts.  May they forgive my imperfections.  Have mercy on me, a mother.  Give them amnesia for the worst times, and vivid memories of the best.  In your name, Amen.


Katherine said...

How wonderful for Peter and you! Praise God for this break through. I am still praying for a break through for my Hannah. In the meantime, we are leaning on God to teach us the lessons He wants us to learn through the difficulty.

Steph said...

I remember vividly when that happened with Boychild. It was like you said - one day he stumbled along, stilted in his reading, and the next it just clicked. I even went to his teacher and bubbled with amazement and she agreed - all of a sudden they just get it and it flows. She said it's one of the things that keeps her teaching that grade level.