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Back to School

It was only the second day of our new school year.  The eager anticipation of cracking open those new books had passed and discouragement scooted in to take its place.  My “tween” son sat at the table with his shoulders drooped in despair.  His math assignment had him stumped and his crummy attitude left him all but paralyzed.

Did I mention this was only the second day of the new school year?  I wasn’t ready for this assault as I’d barely managed to slip back into my teacher’s hat.

Gulping back my frustration, I called him on the inappropriate response to his struggle.  He simply burst into tears.

“Why am I so stupid?  It’s only the second day and I already can’t do this stuff!”  I don’t like to feed a pity party, but I’m human and his frailty in that moment threatened to break my resolve.

I stood there for a minute, carefully weighing my next words.  I knew that I held in my hand the opportunity to encourage him in perseverance, but I also saw clearly that a tiny misstep could send him careening into self-absorption if I over-validated his frustration.  What a tenuous line we so often walk in an attempt to guide our precious children along the bumpy road of life.

As I watched him, tears streaming silently down his dimpled cheeks, I knew there were no words that would effectively talk him down from the precipice of defeat.  Sometimes words just aren’t what a situation calls for.

Without uttering a sound, I crossed to his side of the table, leaned over and kissed his damp cheek.  Pulling back a few inches I looked straight into his eyes, pleading with his heart to feel the love my own has for him.  Those big, brown eyes looked back at me for a moment, saying nothing.  Giving nothing away about what was going on inside his troubled mind.

Holding his eyes with mine, I waited, gently smiling.  And then he told me what I needed to know, without words!

A big, beautiful smile spread across his face, those deep dimples emerging as the storm slowly passed.  He scrubbed his face dry and picked up his pencil, ready to work.  This time my explanation clicked and he soon completed the entire lesson accurately.

Sometimes, as a mom, I think I need to talk my kids through things.  I feel the need to have all the right words at all the right times.  But on this day, with this beautiful child, the Lord showed me that sometimes all I really need to do is hush so He can do my talking as I show them His loving!