Just last week I was given the opportunity to talk to three mamas who have children who are currently struggling in school, particularly in reading. When I look back on our own journey with dyslexia, those days of struggles and tears and anger seem like such a distant memory and yet only yesterday. I really try not to think about those days too often because the hurt and confusion and exasperation and disappointment still feels just as intense today as it did three and four years ago. But I have nothing but absolute joy and amazement and gratitude for where we are now.
Having been exactly where those three mamas are, my heart hurts for them because I KNOW. I know how hard it is, how frustrating it is. I know what it feels like when there aren't any answers. I know what it feels like when your child is giving it all he's got and yet the test grade doesn't reflect all of the effort and agony that went into it. I know what it feels like when the biggest part of your child's life seems to them like failure.
And having been exactly where those three mamas are, I also know that there is a way. There is an answer. That struggling reader will one day no longer struggle to read. That child can and will be successful in school. It might not seem like it today, Mama, but the day is coming. You just hang on as tight as you can, and you make sure you love and encourage your child every step of the way. Don't give up. Your child CAN do this thing!
That's not to say that everything over here is perfect. Because it's not. Mason is killing it in 5th grade this year, but he works darn hard to do so! There are still some things that are not easy for him (and probably never will be), but he doesn't let that get him down. He doesn't let that stop him. I still can't get over what he's reading this year. Most of his Bible and history tests are essay driven, and I tell you some days I just hold my breath. Essays, getting those thoughts down on paper in an organized, succinct way (with correct spelling!) literally wears Mason out. Mentally, physically, totally drains him. But he's doing it. And he's doing it well.
On Tuesday he had to write a short story with twelve of his vocabulary words. His vocabulary words are a combination of words from Bible, history and science so it's a rather eclectic list. We saved that assignment for last because I was DREADING it. When I write a story, I like to diagram it first. I like to draw my big ole circle in the middle of my paper with my main idea. And then I like to draw my three or four lines out to the side with smaller circles containing my detail points. A couple of summers ago, I taught this technique to Mason and had him write a couple of stories. I was really just trying to help him organize his thoughts before putting them into story form. But this just isn't his thing. Organizing. He'd rather just start writing.
I thought long and hard about how to approach his assignment on Tuesday. Instead of making him diagram on paper, I asked him a couple of questions. What do you want to write about? And, of course, his answer made me cringe. Well, if you write about that, what will your detail points be? And then he changed the direction of his original idea. Just like that. So I told him to just go ahead and write his rough draft, and we'd go from there. In typical Mason-fashion, he said, "But if it's just a couple of things, I can fix those real quick, and I won't have to write it again." In other words, he wasn't planning on beginning with a rough draft. His rough and first draft was going to also be the final draft. Sigh.
So I walked away and told him to let me know when he was finished. It didn't take long. Fifteen minutes, maybe. He was so proud. He couldn't wait to read his story to me. And once I heard it, I couldn't wait to share it with you. So, here it is.
The Dangerous Dragon
Jerusalem had a king called Lazarus. He was a strong believer in Christ. His knights were loyal to the people in Jerusalem. The king was walking one day and saw a dragon with a really big talon. So he ran to his knights and told them about the dragon. So they went to find the dragon. They had to be very cautious. The trees were burning. Smoke was in the atmosphere. The knights needed oxygen, but they were okay. The villeins' crops were dying. The trees were decomposing. The knights found the dragon. It was an epic fight. Even Bethany could see the smoke. The dragon was visible from the smoke. A light illuminated the sky. It was God! He killed the dragon, and He made everything back to how it was.
And, just in case you're wondering, Mason's Bible lesson was about Lazarus, he's been studying the feudal system of the Middle Ages and atmosphere, oxygen and decomposing are all obviously science words. Put all of that together with a dangerous dragon, and you have yourselves a story, ladies and gentlemen!
But, more than anything, do you know what immediately struck me about Mason's story? It bears so many parallels to Revelation! I mean, I've been studying Revelation since September, but I haven't really talked with the children about it because we've been doing a different Bible study.
The dragon - Satan - wants nothing more than to destroy peoples' lives. We see the effects of sin all around us. Everyday. And there will most definitely be an epic battle one day! The Lord Jesus Christ is going to kick that dragon - Satan - into the lake of eternal burning fire, and He is going to make a new heaven and a new earth in which His bride will dwell with Him forever. That's Revelation chapters 19, 20, 21 and 22. Seriously, I'm still in amazement. I haven't gone there yet, but I can't wait to share with Mason those last four chapters in God's Word and see if he picks up on the similarities, too.
It might seem so small to most, but this little story right here is a BIG deal to us. I'm still convinced that my little guy is destined for greatness.
Y'all know what? He even reads the dictionary now. For fun.I'm totally kidding. He was, in fact, reading the dictionary the other night. But that's another story for another day.