Monday, August 29, 2011

When Your Child Must Conform

He attended open house last week and starts school tomorrow. During the open house he was overtaken with excitement over all of the books found in his new First Grade classroom. He started pulling out books, exclaiming titles he had just read over the summer and then began sharing his excitement with his new teacher, as she was greeting other parents and students. He was so thrilled, he could hardly contain himself. His enthusiasm for life and learning is beautiful and contagious; something you can imagine will be advantageous throughout life.

Yet I can't help but wonder if it can be a little - much for one teacher with a structured classroom setting, where conformity is a necessity no matter how good the school or dynamic the teacher. I wonder if being the most enthusiastic, the most intense, and most vocal student will get him more negative reinforcement than positive. Will he have a dynamic teacher? One who can stimulate him yet, keep him in line? One who sees his heart and absolute love for learning over a possible challenge to conformity?

Can you sense my concern?

Yes, mama lion is concerned. Not for the underdog this time, which my heart has always gone out to by nature - the shy one, the needy one, the slow-to-learn one. In this case it's the overly-zealous and astute my heart goes out to - the out-going one, the self-sufficient one, the quick-to-learn one. I wonder if you have to be somewhere in the middle to be most successful in an institutional setting?

But, he loves it! I don't hear him complaining.

This is just mama lion speaking, and papa would say he'll be just fine. He will be, and the best I can do is to be in communication with his teacher and in touch with his heart to the best of my ability. I can pray and I can continue to teach character that will serve him well in life. Humility seems to be the character trait tugging on my heart this year as we prepare him for school.

So we talked yesterday about being humble and what that means.

It means to see others as better than yourself.

It means to think of others before yourself.

It means to encourage another rather than drawing attention to yourself.

It means to be courteous and respectful. 

Examples we talked about to consider:

If he is being loud in the classroom, is he drawing attention to himself?

If he is bugging a neighbor, is he drawing attention to himself?

If he knows the answer, does he need to always be the first to answer?

If he has a story to tell, is there someone next to him wanting to tell their story, too? Will he go second - will he go last?

The one example he came up with:

If my team wins, I can tell the other team they are winners, too. :)

These things are difficult for a seven-year-old child to do naturally. Children need to be taught and practice what character looks like.

So, just as the tidbit he took with him to school last year was, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and, "Don't overcome good with evil, but overcome evil with good," this year we'll add to that the practice of humility.


Because it is a character trait of Jesus and He is our example.

Because the character of a person should outweigh the intelligence of a person.

Because conformity is inevitable in life.

And because if my son has to conform, may he be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ above all. 

#155-170 gifts of thanks for

the love of learning
good schools
dynamic teachers
friends who understand
difficult relationships that help me see myself better
freedom from bitterness
Christ's example
the Holy Spirit's indwelling
end of summer fun
Robby's invitation to me for a bike ride together
Evening family bike ride and walks
Drew's pleading to go camping again (next week!)
Early snuggles with Alexa
The face that says, "You make me feel special."
Madeline's first steps

working my way to One Thousand Gifts and beyond of gratitude and linking up with Multitudes on Mondays at Holy Experience, Sol Deo Gloria at Finding Heaven, and Playdates at The Wellspring

Finding Heaven


  1. HI...stopped by from next door at Ann's....I do like...character out weighs intelligence...pray that your momma's heart will continue to find peace as you release him to his new adventure... that is what motherhood is...a series of painful...but good and necessary releases...I am at the wedding release stage...ouch...

  2. Yes! Character should outweigh intelligence. Loved your words today. I'll be praying for your mama heart :)

  3. I think we will always worry...opening our hands to their lives as they grow is such a hard thing. The Lord understands this, though, and He has been kind in dealing with me in this regard.

    Praying for your little man. And his mamma :).

  4. Amen -- oh how I have messed up in the past -- wanting my children to conform so that they would be pleasing to other people. And yet, I'm sure I would have made different choices, or at least worded my words differently, so that they would know that pleasing Christ alone is all we ever really need to pay attention to -- for He will guide our steps.

  5. "Difficult relationships that help me see myself better." Such a great list! It's hard to be thankful for difficult relationships but it's often those relationships God uses to show us our sin or uses to change us in some way or gives us an opportunity to serve. Enjoyed your list today. Visiting from Ann's.

  6. Aww, I loved your list but especially #169. It is quite something when a face says that and it is directed at you. Hope you have a great day and that you little boy has a fantastic time in school.

    Maria @ Linen & Verbena

  7. As always, this was a fantastic post!!

  8. I had tears reading this precious post. I know it touches the heart of God to know the beat of yours. My youngest enters the university this year but I remember those years of elementary, jr. high and high school. How she strived to be like Christ. Your sweet boy will be loved by all FOR his exuberance and love of learning. And God will go with Him.


  9. I too have a very active, but loving little boy - and he survived 1st grade. Just started 3rd grade and we still struggle with wanting to interrupt to say something so very important or being so excited we can't sit still. I have written about him on my blog as well.
    I love your words of conforming to Christ. Can't wait to pray that for my Ryan. He accepted Christ just a month ago. So glad that Jesus has claimed my over enthusiastic, wonderfully vocal, and highly active precious boy for Himself! Praying for you, sister. So glad I visited from Playdates at the Wellspring. Enjoyed it immensely.

  10. Thank you for stopping by my blog earlier this morning. I love your list, especially "the indwelling of the Holy Spirit". Praise God. Blessings to you!

  11. Oh how I identify! I wrestle so with a desire for balance. I hate the thought of my little man's enthusiasm being squelched. I love his exuberance and joy but discipline is good and right. Teaching balance to a seven year old is daunting. I loved your focus on humility. I think it's a conversation that is necessary and never to early to have. Thank you for sharing your sweet, mama lion heart!

  12. oh your son is so blessed to have you as a mama. :) You're so right about character--it has to be taught, modeled. I love that line.

    Thanks for your lovely posts. Good to be back here again. :)


  13. Stopping by from SDG, what an insightful post. How unique and special children are. You learn so much from them, as we teach them too. Thanks for sharing this!


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