He came home from school with several marks on his behavior card. I sort through his binder- turned into garbage dump. Irritation retched up a notch with each crumpled paper I had to smooth out.
“You’ve gotten four numbers for not listening and not staying on task.” I know how boys can be, but seriously! He would definitely be disciplined for the numbers. As I sorted out papers, I began adding punishments for each added infraction. Behavior card wrinkled and out of its sleeve. Reading log not filled in. Also crumpled up and not in its sleeve. The consequences piled up like dirty laundry when the washer is broke.
“I hate my life,” he muttered, face, mouth, shoulders all downcast.
In that moment, as I'm trying to not yell, I hear an inner whisper tell me, "Send him to his room with his journal and tell him to write out all that he thinks is horrible about his life."
While he wrote, I sat down and prayed, "What's really going on with him? What we are doing really isn’t working. So…now what?"On my bookshelf, I have a scripture book that's an amazing guide to finding scriptures dealing with topics such as anger, depression, disrespect, ect. I found the topic, Diligence, (or lack of) and many of the scriptures were from Proverbs.
"Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." 10:4
"Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor." 12:24
So I called him back in and asked him to read over what he had written and it was "I hate school. My life sucks. I hate my home. I hate my sister. I hate my parents and I hate my room and I hate doing work and I hate, I hate, I hate."
It was quite pathetic.
Instead of discussing what he wrote, I asked him if he knew the word "diligent." We looked it up, talked about what it meant.
"Constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student."
Then I read the scriptures, and asked him which scenario sounded better? Which would he rather have in his life? He said he'd rather have the wealth, which is good because I'm not sure how I would have responded if he'd said he would rather be poor and living on the streets. One never knows how a fifth grader might answer. Really.
I made him look me in the eye and said that he was smart enough to have whatever he wanted. He was smart enough to keep up at school. Yes, it gets harder, but that simply meant he would need to keep trying harder.
Something in his countenance changed when I told him he was smart and reminded him of the times he’d made good grades and had teachers bragging on him. His eyes widened, and his lips tugged up in a I-really-want-to-believe-that smile.
Isn't it tragic how the enemy does us? He gathers the lies from those who are supposed to love us, lies from our lives around us, and mixes them in with the lies from the pits of hell. Life gets hard, and we want to throw our hands up and just let the chaos rain down on us. What's the point of trying, right? It's too hard and we fall for the lie that we are too stupid or too helpless to make it change.
I fall into that too. Why try, I can't and it won't work.
I don't want to be less-than-I-really-can-be all my life. Been that most of my life. Don't want to be slave labor, working at nothing jobs that will go nowhere. I want to make a difference. I want to look back and say, “Wow! Did you see that?”
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord and not men.
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