Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School & Prayers (and a little bit of "other")

The past two weeks have been filled with A LOT of reflection. That could be bad:) but for me it has been very eye opening. Last week was hard for a few reasons but what sticks out in my mind were two school meetings Lee and I had with both Sofia's teachers and Maddox's teachers.

Believe it or not Maddox has 3 evaluations during his school year that include a psychologist, his teachers and the director. Though Lee and I are pretty reluctant to go each time (I mean how much can you evaluate a 4 year old boy on!), we have always left there pretty encouraged. Well this time, I didn't. They didn't say anything bad about Maddox at all, in fact they were pretty complimentary about how he was doing. Two things stood out to me and by default caused the meeting to be well...crappy. First of all Lee and I were given lots of suggestions for disciplining Maddox. They said he really listens well after you give him his directions/limits but obviously pushes those limits sometimes. Also he got "invited" to be a part of a small group of kids once a week to meet with the psychologist to talk about feelings and possibly work on his speech development. So though they were being cool about it they just invited my son to the "special" class. Which is totally fine, he could probably use some help with expressing himself in a healthy way and his speech has been behind a little bit (maybe because of the bilingual thing:) I guess I don't deal well with the "round-about" way of handling things like they do here. It was kind but just say "hey we have a group of kids that have different issues and we think Maddox would benefit from it because of..." It seriously took 10 minutes telling us how great this group was and they wanted to send out a special invitation to Maddox. Dude!

Anyway, it really wasn't a terrible meeting and I absolutely LOVE his teachers and the director it was just hard to swallow that day that one of my kids has again something to get through that could be challenging. That brings us to Sofia's meeting. For the past several months we have been meeting with Sofia's teachers and we have a tutor coming over 3 times a week to help Sofia. She has really been struggling in Math and Spanish. I'm not going to go into all the details about the whole situation but lets just say it has been DRAINING on Lee and I.

She is 6, in first grade and getting bombarded with math that sometimes I don't understand. She is doing some pretty hard adding and subtracting, geometry, word problems and soon will be moving onto multiplication. The problem is we can't get past the whole adding part. Believe me when I say that we have been trying. A tutor comes 3 days a week, Lee and I work with her after her hour worth of homework each night and we are given sheets for her to do on the weekend. I know this must sound crazy to you but it's our life right now and unless we choose to either homeschool or possibly switch schools (which to me isn't really an option because of thinking that would NOT help the whole emotional side of things) we are just having to buck up and pray for things to click.

During our talk with the teachers and tutor they again asked us how Sofia was doing at home. How she was at obeying rules etc... This is where I almost had my melt-down but luckily I made it home first. I pretty much spent the following few days figuring out what we were doing wrong and what we could change. Both of our kids were obeying good at home but obviously were getting to school and acting like savage animals (I'm totally exagerrating:) Lee and I talked about consistency and how that is a struggle for us in a lot of areas. We regrouped, recharged, re-did the kids star charts and started over. We know there are things that we like about our parenting but last week was a good reminder of how we could be better.

I'm sharing all of this because it was on my heart. We are in the midst of a little storm when it comes to getting our children through school, revamping our parenting and so on. The good news is we have 3 awesome kids. Sofia is a fighter and she has been so brave and strong through all of this. Maddox has the biggest heart ever and has taught us so much about loving purely like a child. Liam is so fun and we can already see how he is going to melt the hearts of the Peruvian people. They have all 3 been an integral part of our ministry here and we love having them serve along with Lee and I.

No matter what grades Sofia gets or how well Maddox talks, I believe that God is using them to further his kingdom here in Lima. If those teachers have seen anything they have seen parents that are willing to do anything to help their kids succeed but not as much in school but the journey they are on with God.

I laid (is that how you spell that?) awake last night thinking about what our kids didn't know as "normal life." Maddox doesn't know what t-ball or little league is. Sofia doesn't know what "American Dolls" are (well maybe knows what they are but doesn't know the craze behind them)or what summer camp is. Liam well, he really doesn't know much of anything yet BUT I've started not getting as sad as I used to about this. What they DO know is 2 languages, they know the excitement of getting to see their grandparents and getting them all to themselves for a week at a time, they know that church does not mean a building, they know soccer and marinera (a Peruvian dance), they know that sometimes God asks us to sacrifice but in that sacrifice comes abundant blessings and they know that they are loved.

In the grand scheme of things what we are going through as parents with these hardships is nothing in comparison to the hardships we see here on a daily basis. Our friend Elvira doesn't have food for her kids each day and sleeps in a small wooden shack covered with a plastic tarp. My friends back home just found out that their daughters Leukemia relapse and another friend is trying a new drug for her sons cancer. These are the people that we need to be crying for in prayer. I just read the book "Heaven is for Real" and it has changed my prayer life. We should prayer more like our children that truly believe for what they are asking and their prayers are not masked by words that seem intelligent or well thought out.

I ask today that you say a quick prayer for my kiddos but I beg you to get on your knees and pray for these 3 kids right now that are fighting hard to beat the ugliness of cancer- Tatum Flamming, Liam Lowe and Callie. Also prayers for Elvira that God will provide a means for her to feed her children. Lastly prayers for two strong, beautiful, Godly women that are fighting cancer as well, Marilyn and Deanna. God DOES listen and we need to pray with conviction that He does.

Thanks for reading today. All this was just on my heart (especially the last paragraph) and as always might seem a little all over the place but as always I just type...


Anonymous said...

love you steph - praying about the things and people you mentioned in this post. emy

daddyO and honey said...

parenting our children is one of the areas of most growth that comes. for many years. it is a way that God teaches us about us and about HIM. we will pray for your family and the areas you are working on but you to be able to accomplish what the Spirit wants done and not just of your human effort. remembering many with cancer. thanks, stephanie!

Blues and Greens said...

Your bravery is compelling. Can I just encourage you for a moment? First, a caveat: I've never raised children overseas (in fact, we are just now expecting our first), but I have lived and been a teacher in Asia for several years. I have seen the worst of parenting and the best of parenting both overseas and here in the U.S.

Recently, I've relearned some of the meaning behind "...for the joy set before him, Christ endured the shame..." I thought of this when I read about the struggles your family is facing with school.

When you are about to meltdown, reread this paragraph you wrote:

"...What they DO know is 2 languages, they know the excitement of getting to see their grandparents and getting them all to themselves for a week at a time, they know that church does not mean a building, they know soccer and marinera (a Peruvian dance), they know that sometimes God asks us to sacrifice but in that sacrifice comes abundant blessings and they know that they are loved..."

Be encouraged! Sending you hugs and prayers from somewhere North of you. :)