Searching for What to Keep

Courtnee

So do you remember how I purged all our belongings before we moved to Florida?  It’s only 10 weeks into the school year and I am drowning in paperwork! I will have to plant a few trees after my son’s kindergarten year!

Laura
Laura

I’ll need to plant a whole forest to compensate for the dead trees, now that all four of my boys are in some form of school, I cannot even believe the mountains of paper on our kitchen counter and table.   I have a system, but when the system gets backlogged by life, it’s ugly.

Laura
Courtnee

My pile is SO deep we lost an assignment sheet and now we are a week behind on the Native American diorama assignment! #secondgradehomeworkformom #thisonebelongstodad  

Laura
Laura

Oh no!  I’ve so been there!

Laura
Courtnee

If my goal is one tote per child that holds treasures from K through 12, I have to decide EACH WEEK what to get rid of and what to keep!

Laura
Laura

Or everyday!  So many decisions!  It’s hard to know what to keep and what to throw away.  I sure hope you have an “ah-ha” moment to help me make these decisions because my Pinterest file folders (Yes, I totally printed the cute labels and everything!) are filling up fast! #wishicouldsaveitall

Laura
Courtnee

Laura, you’re not gonna believe this, but I do have an “ah-ha” moment that came back to me.  I was reminded this week of the children’s picture book that changed my perspective and guided me during the house purge. 

Laura
Laura

Well that sounds amazing!  What’s the book?

Laura
Courtnee

It’s called Rain School by James Rumford.  It’s a story about a teacher and her students building a simple school structure from mud bricks and a grass roof in the African country of Chad.

Laura
Laura

I’m intrigued… what happens?

Laura
Courtnee

Their first lesson is to build the school.  When the students finally get to sit down on the mud benches they built, they are eager to learn.  

Laura
Laura

That is some serious hands-on learning–building their own school and desks?!

Laura
Courtnee

Then the older children reassure their younger siblings they will get a pencil and a notebook of their own.  What a difference from our mounds and mounds of papers.

Laura
Laura

No kidding.  I’m thinking with my former-teacher brain for a minute.  What would I have those students put in that one notebook?  I would have to be so selective with what to “keep” in the curriculum!

Laura
Courtnee

And then at the end of the school year, the heavy rains come and the mud structure and mud desks begin to gradually wash away, but  “the students’ minds are fat with knowledge. Their notebooks are rumpled from learning.”

Laura
Laura

I’m not going to lie.  That sounds a little sad.  All their hard work… their school… just gets washed away? 

Laura
Courtnee

But the author writes: “It doesn’t matter.  The letters have been learned and the knowledge taken away by the children.”

Laura
Laura

That is a great perspective.  It is really about what is in the hearts and minds of the students.  No wonder this changed your perspective!

Laura
Courtnee

While doing our whole house purge, when I got stuck on whether to keep something or not, I would say “Rain School” or look at the “Rain School” sign I made.  I would ask myself, “Has this item already served its purpose in our lives?” I found it was easier to let something go when I realized I had something inside me (or my family) that was more valuable, longer-lasting and portable than the object.  

Laura
Laura

That’s true.  That’s what is really important.  I love this idea! Eventually the content of the papers are just going to be in their minds. The love of learning and the dear friendships are going to be imprinted on their hearts.  Math worksheets, sight words, and even the cute crafts don’t really matter.

Laura
Courtnee

But Laura, here’s the kicker.  The Sunday School paperwork.

Laura
Laura

Oh, right.  You mean the papers that “prove” they learned something about God?!  

Laura
Courtnee

Bahahahah!   Actually my problem is the  “talking sheets” from Sunday school that I’m just filing  away rather than using. It’s not because I don’t want to talk with them about God and what they learned on Sunday afternoon; it’s because I’m overwhelmed with paperwork and they’re clamoring for lunch, not spiritual conversation. 

Laura
Laura

Oh, right!!  You are just failing as a mother there!  Not using your “talking sheets” from Sunday school to guide the spiritual development of your children?!  How dare you file those papers… I hope you sense my sarcasm here! 😂😂😂

Laura
Courtnee

So since I’m overwhelmed by the paperwork, can I just rely on my relationship with my children and my heart to teach them?

Laura
Laura

Right!  Because the papers aren’t really what’s important here.  You said it just a little bit ago. It’s what’s in their hearts and minds.  Let’s just say our kids’ hearts are their one notebook. As parents we want to be pretty selective on what gets written down in there.

Laura
Courtnee

And even though they don’t say it to us, they are “writing” our interactions with them into their notebook.  The values we are teaching them carry a weight because we have a special connection to their hearts as their parents.

Laura
Laura

And what gets into their hearts and minds is what you are talking to them about over and over and over.  If the “talking sheets” help you decide, by all means keep it, but if not, I don’t think you need to worry too much about using every resource.

Laura
Courtnee

My good friend, Jane, told me she always disagreed with her parents because it was a safe place to work out her beliefs.  But what her parents didn’t know is that she always took their side when she had discussions elsewhere.

Laura
Laura

That is good to think about. Because sometimes it feels like the conversations don’t really stick in their heart notebooks.  Plus what I really want to show my boys is that there are ways for them to search out what is good for their hearts and minds on their own.  And there are things that they need to give up thinking about. Concerns that they need to give up worrying about. Habits that they can give up for good. 

Laura
Courtnee

Yes, I want my kids to have a filter for the things they are experiencing because my kids are “bringing” a lot of things home from school that concern me.  My regular prayer has been for God to guard their hearts for them and teach them how to filter what they allow into their hearts and minds.

Laura
Laura

What a great prayer!  I am going to pray we can help them make the search for good become second nature.  And on the other hand, the choice to give up what’s unhealthy a choice they aren’t afraid to make.

Laura
Courtnee

This is so hard because we are like mama bear snipers wanting to pick off anything we think would be harmful to our kids.  But in reality we need to step back and realize we are trail guides pointing them toward Jesus and His invitation to be a wholehearted person in a world full of good and bad choices.  

Laura
Laura

I know it will take time.  Sort of like I had to come up with my system of what papers to save and what papers to throw away.  We just keep on trying to show them. It’s a constant process.

Laura
Courtnee

Lord, help us to invite and inspire our kids to journey toward you every day.  Will you be their leader and ours in sorting through what to keep and what to let go of.

Laura
Laura

Amen!  

Ok… I’m inspired! I’m off to tackle the pile on my kitchen counter.  And while I sort, I’ll be praying for our kids to do the same.

Laura

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:… A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,6, NIV).
  • “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4, NIV)
  • “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)
  • “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

Music to inspire you:


Readings and Resources to come alongside of you:


Related Posts on Texting The Truth:

  • I (Courtnee) am decorating the kids room with their school art.  I have SO many sight word sheets that I am also going to get creative with cutting them up and building some sentences on the wall.  I see it as my “Rain School” that will contribute to their learning for the year. Do you have a space in your house to use their school paperwork to build your Rain School?  Go off the Pinterest grid and see how you can be creative with your space and your stuff to build your Rain School out of what the kids bring home!
  • I (Laura) have one large bulletin board for cute crafts and other work that we are really proud of.  Like the 10/10 correct spelling words that someone worked so hard to get! These papers go on display for a season.  They get replaced with the next season of work. When I take the craft down, I have a little system if it gets trashed or not.  First is is somehow personal to my son? Does it display his handprint? His personality? Something unique to him? If his craft looks just like all the other student’s crafts, it usually gets trashed.  If I am unsure or for some reason just feel attached to it, then it goes into a holding bin that I have for each child. Twice a year, I look at the holding bin and decide if those papers will make the cut and go into my Pinterest file box.  One folder per year in one box K-12!!!
  • Beyond the practical systems of sorting and keeping, we can all be in prayer for kids.  Pray with us? Lord, be with _________(child’s name) today.  Protect his/her heart’s notebook. We ask that You would be his/her teacher.  Show him/her what to write down today about the world that You have made and what he/she should know about You from what they heard from friends and learned from teachers.  Help me as his/her mother to reinforce what you want him/her to keep in his/her heart. Help me to talk everyday about You and what You want my dear child to learn. Amen.

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{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more.

In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}

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