Since Makaio is very attached to us, I figured I would give him a slow start. So, I enrolled him for three days a week, three hours each day and made sure his best buddy, Ricky, was right by his side.
Sounds like a blast right?
As soon as Makaio finds out it’s a school day, his lower lip quivers and the tears start streaming. He wraps his arms around my leg and sobs.
“I don’t want to go to school. I want to be with you!”
He pleads for mercy.
Confession 1: His emotional outbursts don’t move me to compassion.
Quite honestly, I find them irritating.
I get angry and frustrated every time a crocodile tear rolls down his little pink cheek.
Ugh, who doesn’t want to go to school? I loved school!
I drag him there anyway, reassuring him that there is nothing to be afraid of and that mommy will be right there to pick him up when school is finished.
But the last two class days, I’ve had to take him home with me.
He simply refuses to think rationally.
And I’m left feeling angry, frustrated and extremely annoyed that I wasted 130 of our scarce dollars to send him to something he simply isn’t ready for. And now, as I am sitting here writing this blog, trying to process everything, I’m led to look inward at myself and my parenting.
It all started with my desire for Makaio to become more independent. In my mind, gaining independence and going to school go hand in hand. Successful parenting is evidenced when one’s child can let go of mommy’s leg and sit, happily in a classroom.
I never once entertained the thought that he might not be ready and when my husband suggested we hold off on sending him, I argued.
“He’s four. He should start some kind of school,” I said.
“He’s very shy. We should wait a year. He’s going to have a hard time,” Wouter said.
I was wrong.
I realize now after only three weeks of preschool, that I didn’t see my son. Instead, I saw a standard I thought he needed to meet.
I’m sad that I overlooked his emotional needs and pushed him further than he was ready to go. The fact is, I’m the one who’s ready for him to go to school.
Confession 2: I’m subconsciously expressing my disappointment in him through the way I’m treating him!
Gosh! That’s hard to admit. He is only 4 years old! He doesn’t understand the psychology behind all of this! He just knows that he doesn’t want to be away from his most favorite person in the whole wide world: me.
I’m so sad. I’ve been impatient and easily irritated by his four year old behavior.
Thankfully, tonight, God exposed my heart to me.
Jennifer, you cannot get mad at him when he doesn’t meet your irrelevant standards. Just love him intentionally, no matter what. Ask Me for wisdom and I’ll give it to you.
What if God got angry or irritated with me every time I failed to meet His expectations?
Yes, that is a rhetorical question. We all know it happens every day!
Somehow, God, in His love for me, meets me where I am and works with me, slowly pulling me forward. He knows me. He understands me. He is patient with me and stays by my side during my many seasons of stagnation. He is always there; always loving me, always working with me; yet somehow never enabling me to remain in my sin. He never forces me to conform to His standards and yet somehow He makes me desire to be more like Him. Wow, He’s the perfect parent and He has given me an amazing example to follow.
Tonight, I learned that if I allow myself to get mad at my son for displeasing me when he is just four years old, I’ll be doing that well into the future and our relationship will be contaminated by disappointment…And he will never feel like he is good enough for me.
I. Never. Want. That.
He needs grace just like I do.
I think I need to change the questions I’m asking the Lord concerning my son.
Instead of, “God, why isn’t he obeying me? Why won’t he just go to school and have fun like all the other normal kids his age?”
I’ll try, “God, what’s your plan for Makaio’s life? How can I help prepare him for it? Teach me what I need to know, Lord, and if he’s not ready for this, help me to let it go and trust your timing.”
I know this all may seem soooo melodramatic.
After all, it’s just preschool, right?