Friday, September 26, 2008

More ponderings about patience and kids

So... I was thinking about Christopher's education yesterday and thought you might be interested in Stephanie's school years since she was not homeschooled.

She grew up with me quoting two important truths over and over. The first... a scripture... "Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall". The second... a quote that came from a class I took on Biblical gifts... "within every gift there is an inherent weakness".

Stephanie was just scary smart. I mean... really... she was brilliant. Before the grandchildren came along that is but I'd rather her have lots of beautiful children than be brilliant anymore. Now she's just very smart.

Her father used to take credit for this, saying it was all those brewers yeast shakes he made me throughout my pregnancy (yuk, phew, gross). Since this was my second pregnancy and we were being very careful not to go into preterm labor again (Matthew was already waiting for us in Heaven), I was doing everything to be healthy. If you've ever tasted brewer's yeast, you know one must be determined.

I, on the other hand, would take credit for her brilliance because of all the early childhood education stuff we did together. Of course, the truth really is that any gift is from God and we did know that all along.

Stephanie was the opposite of her brother (who is taking an additional year at the junior college to prepare him better in math and science... and then will transfer to the university), she was an early reader and excelled in every aspect of school. She graduated from high school at the end of her junior year (skipping her senior year) and tested out of most of her freshman year of college (Interior Design students must attend four years regardless, though). Almost everyone who knew her were appalled at her decision to study design when she could have been a lawyer, or a doctor, or a scientist, or something else she didn't want to be.

For the most part, the public school systems she was involved in did mostly good and little harm. She had some great teachers. So what I had to work on the most with her was, as a parent, helping her to see her gift for what it was worth and how to best use it. To be honest, the only "homeschooling" we did was during her summers when I encouraged the reading of great books. When we were in Iowa, I even set up a payment schedule as goals to help her out of the Mandy books and into great Russian novels and the like.

Where Christopher's challenges gave him great empathy for others, Stephanie's giftedness made it difficult to put herself in the shoes of one who struggled. She was such a sweet girl (and still is, I have to say) that I'd find myself praying for her over and over that she'd develop real mercy for others. That's when she'd hear the two quotes from me mentioned above.

The inherent weakness of those academically gifted? They just can't comprehend that others don't find learning easy so they don't have patience with anyone learning anything new... whether at school, at home, with friends, or family.

How did God answer my prayers. Well, a couple of ways. Another prayer I'd lifted up on High for her since she was born was for her future husband. I was praying for the world's best son-in-law since he was just a little guy!

Stephanie's life experiences... the good (her giftedness) and the not so good (our many moves, financial challenges, and her dad's health problems) all came together to make her a perfect helpmeet for her husband. Neither are perfect people but both are perfect for each other.

Hehehe, the other way God answered my prayers. He gave her children. Imperfect, albeit adorable, children. The baby stages... the toddler stages... the whiny five year old stage... oh, yes, there is nothing like having a child (whether one or many) to bring humility into one's life.

Humility... and compassion. Today my daughter is one of the most loving and giving people I know on this planet.

You see my friends, even if we don't officially "homeschool", we are teaching our children. Those inherent weaknesses we see at age three, and five, and fifteen... God lets us pray about all those years and do everything we can... ready for His use in His time.

Yesterday I called Stephanie and a little voice answered (knowing from the cell phone that it was me)... "Grammie, are you FEELING BETTER?". I told Miss E. that yes, indeed, I was much better and asked if she had been praying for me. She said she had and I was able to tell her that prayer works. Does it get any better than that? Knowing how you brought up your children... as imperfect as you are and as imperfect as you lived... God is using to prepare the next generation. :)

Picture: Bedtime Story;


Anonymous said...

I think this is a lovely tribute to Stephanie. :)

Susan B said...

Brenda, what a wonderful post about your daughter!

Iva said...

God's grace is shown to me daily in my imperfect parenting ways. He is so good!

Brenna said...


I can't tell you enough how much your posts speak to me. They enlighten, encourage and inspire me. Thank you! Oh, I'm blogging again. :-)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

You reminded me of an English saying I heard once: everything has the defects of its virtues......

And yes, through our lives God teaches us the lessons we need to learn, with love and mercy. A great gift is to teach your children to listen for that Voice......And you have done that.
(BTW, I finally got something in the mail for you yesterday. I'm so terribly slow.)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I was struck by your mention of baby Matthew.
We have our little miracle in the house. My 27 week preemie came home two weeks ago. He is on oxygen and we are under strict orders to STAY HOME. I'm tired and overwhelmed. Thinking of what you must have gone through really put things back in perspective for me.

mom to 8