Friday, September 18, 2009

The Most Important Thing to Teach George

It is so easy for me to get caught up in teaching George how to read, understand numbers, tell time...all the things that any child needs to get along in American society. George is now bringing home homework and I am enjoying sitting at the table working on numbers and letters.

I am suddenly thrust into two completely opposite ends of the educational experience. I have several children thriving in school, two of whom have been chosen for the Gifted and Talented program. And now I have one who gets remedial help. I have children who come home from school telling me, usually in excruciating detail, about every lesson they had that day. I now have one who can't tell me at all what he did, except to tell me about experiences on the playground. It is an odd place to be, but I am grateful for this experience. I see now what it is like to be the parent of a child who struggles academically and who sometimes doesn't understand the rules and ways. It is humbling to walk into the school...wondering if George behaved that day or if all the teachers are looking at me and whispering, "That is the mom of George." Being humbled...that is a good thing! But, that is not the point of this entry..read on :)

I am often, gently, reminded by God that while those lessons are important, I have a most important lesson to teach George...and that is to tell him about Jesus. I think that George must have seen some passion plays, for he is very aware of the crucifixion of Christ. He often talks about the "mean men" (Roman soldiers) who hit Jesus. When we talk about Jesus, he points to his hands and says, "Jesus hurt here." So, he knows the story - up to the point of Jesus dying.

But, he does not know about the resurrection. We often read a story about the life of Jesus (one of George's favorite books to read at night) and he focuses on the pictures of Jesus being hurt, and doesn't even want to bother with the picture of Jesus on the third day rising triumphantly from the grave. I don't know why....I can't even begin to guess why. But, here is where I must teach George.

Jesus did not just die a horrible death. No, he rose from the dead and now lives in us. The other day, George was having a very, very hard day and with tears streaming down his face was crying, "Jesus come. Jesus come." Again, not sure why and Joe and I were at a loss trying to comfort him. We have tried to teach George that Jesus is in his heart, but also in heaven - such a tough concept for even an adult to get, huh? But, as he cried that night, he held his heart and cried for Jesus.

The idea of forgiveness is a new concept for George. Luckily, he lives with a family who often needs to ask for forgiveness - including his mom and dad :) George understands when it is appropriate to say "I'm sorry." In fact, last night, as I called the kids in from a rowdy game of football, Lincoln was crying. And I saw George continue to get into Lincoln's face to say something. Lincoln kept crying and George kept saying something to him. It took a about 100 yards of them creeping along continuing this pattern before I could hear what was going on. Lincoln was crying, "George took my ball!" and George was replying, "I am sorry, Lincoln!" Even as recent as a month ago, George would have run into his room crying, not willing to admit he did something wrong and surely not willing to simply apologize. But, it is hard to go the next step...forgiveness.

One morning, I was particularly tough on George. I admit it, I was being a little impatient, unsympathetic, and just downright mean. I yelled, a little too loud and I scared George. When I saw his face crumble, I quickly sat down, held his hands and said, "Mommy is so sorry! I should not have yelled. I am very, very sorry." I asked George if he understood that I was sorry, he nodded and we hugged. I left the room feeling OK, but as soon as I was out of the room, he started screaming at the top of his lungs, "Mommy mean to me! Mommy mean to me!"

I will not lie...I had to count to 10 before going back into the room. How do I possibly teach George about forgiveness? How do I teach him about letting the offense go? With our home made children, they don't seem to really understand forgiveness until they understand they are sinners in need of forgiveness. Once they get that, they seem to be much more ready and willing to forgive others.

The task of teaching George about Chris's amazing love that led him to laying down his life willingly so that our sin would be covered seems huge. But what an honor to tell a child about that love! In the meantime, God has asked me to love with Christ's love...that picture of unconditional love and forgiveness is what is going to move him toward understanding God's love. But, every day it is evident that I am not God...and I don't do this very well most days.

If I am not surrendered to God's will and in His Word daily, I stink about this job!

I went to a mom's group yesterday here in our new town. We were asked to think about what is hard about parenting. It was easy for me to come up with an answer. Then we were asked to think about what we have learned from that piece of hard parenting. For me....being a mom to a child who is not my flesh and blood has been, honestly, hard. But the lesson I have learned is so much greater than just how to parent that child...it has been to understand at such a deeper level the love to God for me, His adopted child. And it is ONLY through God loving me, that I am able to love George....and hey, I do LOVE George!

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