Beautiful Monsters

Beautiful Monsters
Beautiful Monsters

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Learning is hard.

The boys have been hip deep in football this fall.  The middle school team ended the season at 1-8.  The high school team is coming up on playoff games at 7-0.  The same freshman on this year's unbeaten  high school team had a season last year with not a single win to his name.  They learned a lot.  Like my 8th grader this year is learning a lot.  But it is a hard, long, cold, heavy way to learn.

I like to believe that my son who didn't win a game last year learned what it means to give it every thing you have, every ounce of try, every bit of sweat, every push during conditioning, all the heart in the world, and still lose the game.  And hopefully, hopefully, it makes him a more gracious winner.  Hopefully he will understand that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, how much you want it, you don't win.  And have a little grace for people that he might otherwise be tempted to look down on or dismiss as lazy or not trying hard enough.  Maybe wishful thinking on my part, but still.  If this year is any indication, my youngest will get to learn all about it next year, too, when he hits 8th grade.

I got to learn a little this week, too.  I teach our ladies bible study, and we are working through a book called  "Unglued".  Mostly about godly reactions during emotionally charged situations.

I had a victory with this last week, where, instead of stuffing how I was feeling, and then exploding later, I expressed myself like a grown-up, and then moved on.  Took 30some years to learn how to do that, but - yay! I got it!

So of course, enter the stupid situation that should have been a whatever thing.  No reaction needed.  I had a homework assignment for a project management class returned for not showing my work, where I didn't think showing my work was necessary.  Truth, I still don't.  It is a senior level college class.  I looked at 7 weeks to finish half of the project, and 0 weeks to finish the other, and just wrote "The project will take 7 weeks to complete."  I did not write out 7+0=7.  The whole college senior thing made me think we were past that.  Apparently not.

So of course, I sat down quietly, and fixed my answers and re-submitted them.  I wish that was true.

I wrote a dissertation on how, if a person can't look at the chart and the given information and the narrative they had already written on the project presented and figure out that 7 weeks and no weeks is 7 weeks without writing out 7+0=7, perhaps they weren't smart enough to be a Business Management major.  I certainly don't want them even cashiering in my business.  THEN I started in on the grading process, the people doing it, etc...

I wish it ended there.  I really do.

THEN I got out my crayons.  And some paper.  And for each of the problems, I drew pictures, with detailed explanations.  7 blue squares (one for each week) and NO red squares , count them, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 ... Gasp!  7!  Each problem also had a number line, and a hundreds chart.  All colored, with my best crayons.  I wish I could tell you I didn't spend almost two hours on this.  I would be a much better person if I could.

But I can't.  When I didn't send in the snarky, illustrated version, I can't even say that I did it because I got my head back, and I wanted to be on God's side more than I wanted to be right.  I didn't send it in, because the graders could sit on the assignment until after the term was over, and cause me to fail the class for this semester.

I know this, because it is exactly what I would have done.   Strike 4?  5?  Pretty sure I am out.

And I got to thinking.  I am learning.  How better to learn a lesson, than to live it?  How could I teach this, if I wasn't walking it?

God says that He began a good work in me, and He will be faithful to complete it.  Right through when he comes again.  There is good news in that.  He began a work, and HE will complete it. My part is to willing to let Him.  And try not to sabotage the works.  There is better news.  He is going to be completing His work, for my whole life.  So any illusions I had about getting "there", about arriving, about making it... I can let go of those!  Because it isn't going to happen.  If God is going to be fixing me from now until forever actually does come, do I really think that I can do it in the next 3 months?  As a New Year's resolution?  Truly?

Sometimes, you get the perfect pass, tuck the ball in, and a running lane opens up and you truck that ball on down the field and do a dance.  Sometimes, you get to the end zone, but in a series of 3 and 4 yard advances that are hard fought and truly earned, every step by step.  Sometimes, you have to sit the bench while bigger players with more experience get the glory.  And, sometimes, you line up and the next thing you know the biggest guy they have is testing you out like a mattress for firmness and bouncability.

Learning is hard.  But if life is the game, the game is worth it.  After all, Jesus is providing personal, private coaching sessions, and He is sitting in the stands cheering loudly for me.  And He already paid off the refs.

His "mean" face! 

Now he's in High School, he is all business. No smiles for mom.