I was recently talking to one of my sons who is in college, discussing a unique opportunity that he had been given. He was excitedly telling me about how this new endeavor really fits his strengths as well as his passion.
Later, I began to reflect on this. This was a child who, as a young boy, would do a full body shrug as he was asked to write his name on top of his paper for school. This was a child who took a long time to learn to read and needed my help when he did any lesson. I was walking that thin line of becoming an educational security blanket when this continued into middle school.
I continually prayed for him, asking the Lord to mature him. I just didn’t see a good work ethic in his heart. He wasn’t trying to do his best, but instead was just looking to do “good enough.”
As a family, building character was foremost in our discussions. We desired for our children to understand that God requires our best in all we do. The desire to be driven or to do hard work should not be for the end goal of becoming a millionaire; it is to work diligently for the Lord, using the gifts He has generously given us for His good!
So what do we do when we have a child who hasn’t caught that? I didn’t want to have a 35-year-old son still living in my home, sitting on my couch, eating Cheetos and playing video games. These children are arrows in our quiver. And what do we do with arrows? We shoot them … we send them out to do what they are designed to do.
When you meet a shy toddler and you want to connect with him or her, what do you do? Well, you squat down to their level so you can talk with them eye-to-eye, right? You relate to them from their vantage point.
Well, that is what I began doing with my son. I tried to see things from his level, his vantage point. This child LOVED building things. Whether it was Legos, K’nex, or even pipe cleaners and clay, he was always building something.
So as we did lessons for school, I allowed him to incorporate that love for building into his assignments. I asked him to construct the layout of a Greek military battalion. We constructed cells out of edible material. (It’s amazing what you can do with Rice Krispie Treats!) I had him write a paper on a topic and include illustrations of the design of whatever he was writing about (even if it was a book report).
And he responded.
He still would sometimes complain about the work he had to do, but he began to see that he could make that work a bit more enjoyable if it had a purpose. Ultimately, THAT was the lesson we were trying to teach.
Our Lord calls us to do our best.
When we see that we are doing things for our Lord, we have a changed perspective. We learn that our occupation, whether it is student, mother, mail carrier, or king, is one that is appointed to us. And when we DO our work from that vantage point, we begin to gain joy in it. Granted, there will be challenging days, days when we really don’t want to get out of bed, days where we feel unable or un-enthused. But those are the days when we need to call out to our Lord.
“Father, You have placed me here with these little ones … Lord, You have given me parents who are teaching me and are asking me to do this assignment for school … God, I can’t see why, but You have given me this trial to walk through.”
And THAT is where He desires us to be. When we call out to Him, we are able to see HIM work in ways that we could not otherwise see. We can give HIM the glory, then, for bringing us through.
Did you see what I just did? You thought this was a post on how to help our kids when they have no drive. But we ALL need this, don’t we? We ALL need that little kick in the pants to be reminded that we aren’t doing this for ourselves or for others, but are doing this to give glory to our Lord!
When we see that, we can then help our children to see it, too. We can then help them to understand the benefits of a hard work ethic. We can all change our perspective as we approach our days from “What can I get out of today?” to “What does the Lord have for me today, and how can I serve Him and see Him work in my life?” That brings us ultimate joy, folks.
It is more of a heart thing, isn’t it? I know that this is one of the many reasons God gave me children. He gave me little mirrors of myself, helping me to see areas in my life that I was selfishly holding onto.
And I give Him the glory for it.
Have an extraordinary day!
Sherri Seligson has homeschooled for 21 years. A marine biologist, she has authored Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Marine Biology and Interning for High School Credit, instructional DVD courses for Exploring Creation with Biology and The Human Body, as well as companion curricula for feature films including Dolphin Tale I and II and War Horse. Sherri is a national conference and retreat speaker, where she encourages moms on their homeschool journey and teaches families and students the importance of studying God’s creation. You can connect with Sherri at just-extraordinary.com.