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The Lesson For Today

Here’s a familiar scene at our house:

Daughter works on an art assignment.

I hear Daughter slam hands on the table and utter a low, gutteral animal sound that rises into high soprano.

I breathe deeply and head into the room.

“What’s the problem?”

“I can’t do it.”

“What’s the exact problem that you’re frustrated by?”

“Mommy!”

I wait.

“All of it.  I want to quit.”

“Remember the last time you were frustrated with an assignment and you pushed through and kept working and you ended up with something you really liked.  Don’t give up.  Keep going.”

I help with any specifics if she’ll let me.

I leave the room.  More indigested lion sounds from the school room.

Later, after she’s successfully pushed through, she comes looking for me with a smile she’s trying to hide.

“This is great work Mookie.” I continue, “Even more than sketching skills or math skills or grammar, the skill of pushing through a problem and not giving up is a skill that will carry you a long way.”

Repeat scenario for said daughter and her sibilings and subsitute trying to read, trying to sharpen a pencil(!), or any other daily challenge in our house.

Now replace the child with the Mama.

Low, guttural sounds emanate from my throat.  Arghhhhhhhh.

“I want to quit,” I said to my husband tonight.

“What’s the exact problem?”

“Honey!” I exclaim.

He waits.

“Parenting.  Homeschooling.  Respect.  11 year old girls who think they are 13.  Attitudes.  Being the taskmaster all day long.  All-of-it.”

And of course I see myself as my daughter looking at her impossible assignment.

She doesn’t have the ability to quit, she has to do it.

I can’t quit parenthood.

Not completely, but there are ways I could quit trying to be the Mama I really want to be. Take an easier road that would make my kids happier now (which means more peace for me), but not more disciplined or loving in character later.

But there’s a chance, if I don’t give up, I’ll find something that I’m happy with from my work at the end of it.

Oh my, but it’s hard.

The Lord has used Mamahood for His sanctification in me and I’m facing part of that now: I actually have to act out for myself, the lessons that I teach.

Today, the lesson is pushing through.

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