As the school year comes to a close, I wonder if my children have learned anything of lasting value in the last nine months. Sometimes I lament the proportion of academics to life lessons—even in homeschool. Still, when I look back over my own life, I remember a few special teachers whose lessons have indeed served me well in life and as a mom.
1. Be diligent.
Now I know I learned a lot of valuable things in Sunday school, but my fifth grade Sunday school teacher was determined that our little ragtag class would learn the meaning of the word diligence. So every Sunday she quizzed us in the meaning and application of diligence with regard to studying God’s Word and to life in general.
The Encarta Dictionary of North American English defines diligence as “persistent and hard-working effort in doing something.” I have never forgotten the word, and I have recently been reminded that, as a mom, I must put forth a persistent and hardworking effort in parenting my children, among other things.
2. Just say “Thank you.”
When my seventh grade English teacher complimented me, I pushed aside her praise and began explaining why I hadn’t really done very well. She stopped me and admonished, “Just say ‘Thank you.'”
It is way too easy to wake up in the morning praying in complaints. Lord, I don’t want to get up. I’m tired of cooking and doing laundry. The kids are sick, and I’m tired of taking care of them. I’m tired of not having enough money for things we’d like to do. I don’t want to go to another meeting, and I’ll never get everything done.
Been there? The context is different, but the lesson sticks: Just say ‘Thank you.’
Instead I can choose to pray, Thank You for my home. Thank You for providing food, clothing, and medicine to meet our needs today. Thank You for the opportunity to love and serve others, and thank You for Your strength that enables me to do every good thing You have planned for me today. Thank You for the gift of my children and for the challenges that will draw me closer to You. Thank You for Your great love that never fails and Your mercy that is new every morning.
3. Don’t give up.
This may sound odd, but I was a math junkie of sorts—there is something about the pursuit of solving a problem. So this lesson was learned year after year from a myriad of teachers and professors. Don’t give up. Keep trying different angles until you solve the problem.
Sometimes I feel like I am beating my head against the wall with issues at home. Why won’t this child do his work? Why doesn’t she manage her time better? Why can’t my husband and I communicate? Will they ever stop arguing? Why can’t I be more patient?
Don’t give up. Keep trying different angles until you solve the problem. When I get discouraged, I am reminded to persevere (diligence again!), to get up the next morning and try again. If one attempt doesn’t work, maybe I can try something else. Take a break and get a new perspective.
Pray and ask for wisdom. Seek advice from a godly friend. But above all, do not give up. There may be some issues which will never be fully resolved in this life, but I must press on. As Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”
We may break from school for the summer, but you’ll still hear me passing on these lessons to my kids: Be diligent! Be thankful! Don’t give up!