The last three weeks have been interesting one in the life of my son who is finishing up the seventh grade. He’s at that point where he’s pushing boundaries to see just how far he can go, while at the same time having to step outside his own comfort zone to try and communicate with others.
The whole situation looks an awful lot like the Push-Me-Pull-Me in the original Dr. Doolittle film. One day he’s very forward in pushing for what he wants, and the next he’d rather die than explain himself.
The last three weeks have been pretty heavy in the rather die category especially in regards to explaining himself to his teacher. It was about then that she told me he was missing a couple of spelling assignment from that week. So, as soon as we got into the truck to drive home I asked him about them, and he said he didn’t remember doing them. So, I told him he had to do all of them including his regular homework when we got home, and turn it in the next day, which was a Friday.
He said okay, did the work and I thought it was a done deal. Until I saw his binder on Sunday evening after he’s spent the weekend with his father, and the missed assignments hadn’t been turned in.
I pointed them out and he said that he didn’t think his teacher would take them because they were late. I said, ‘you need to apologize, explain what happened and turn them in.’
Well, long story short, he didn’t. Over the next three weeks, I felt like I was in a time-warp, or the movie Groundhog Day. I would ask him if he turned the late homework in, he would say, ‘I couldn’t get my teacher’s attention and she won’t take it anyway’ and I would say, ‘you have to try.’ The time frame was made even longer by the fact that we were gone for a week and half because of Easter.
Those two assignments felt like the proverbial bad penny that just keeps on showing up regardless of how you try to get rid of it. And, even though my son was refusing to go and turn them in and talk to his teacher about it, I could tell that he was distressed about the whole thing. It just wasn’t sitting well with him.
Finally, I said to him, ‘you need to turn it in and explain yourself or I will make an appointment with your teacher and you will explain to her at that time about your homework.’
That finally did it, he turned in the work, and it turns out that she gives half credit for late assignments unlike what he thought about zero credit. When I asked her about how he explained himself when he turned it in, I could tell he didn’t do a very good job, but I was just happy he actually did it. And, I wouldn’t have to open his binder to find those two assignments staring me in the face again.
The whole thing did get me thinking about things we need to give to the Lord, and how we need to explain them to Him, not for Him to know, because He already knows, but for ourselves. How many times do we intend to give Him something, then don’t? We don’t for a variety of reasons, because we’re afraid, or don’t know how to do it, or even because we would rather stay silent and assume He will react a certain way, rather than tell Him and find out the reality of how He is.
It gets to the point that it’s like we’re in our own personal Groundhog Day with the Lord. Until we give it over to Him, everyday it just keeps showing up and staring us in the face.
We carry around the weight of not only the things we need to give to Him, but the weight of not turning them over to Him, which means we’re carrying around a lot more than He ever wants us to.
He, like my son’s teacher, can just go and get whatever it is that needs to be turned over to Him, but that wouldn’t do a thing to help build a relationship would it? Because many times it’s in those moments of giving something over and communicating with Him about it, that the threads of our relationship and our faith are formed and strengthened.
“I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse.”