Homework and the Heart

Laura
Laura

Did I ever tell you that being a mom is hard work? I mean like THE HARDEST work I’ve ever done.

Laura
Virginia

You may have mentioned it once or twice. 😄

Laura
Laura

Well, it just got even more challenging.

Laura
Virginia

What? My older child is finally in Kindergarten. I thought things were going to get a *little* easier.

Laura
Laura

Ok… I do think that there are some things that are easier about having school age children, for sure. Like I’m almost finished with sippy cups! Praise the Lord! BUT now we have 3rd grade homework. I had no idea it was going to be such a battle.

Laura
Virginia

I already have some stress over homework. It’s hard to know how involved I’m supposed to be?!

Laura
Laura

That is for sure one of the struggles. It’s his homework… I’m not going to do it for him! But do I let him get everything wrong? When do I step in? Because when I do step in, I find out there a lot I don’t know, apparently… like I don’t know how to do subtraction. 😜 At least not his way.

Laura
Virginia

Kids will never know the struggle of borrowing, no matter how many times we try to teach it to them. Lol. That’s hard though – I get it!

Laura
Laura

That is exactly the problem… borrowing! I mean if you had been a fly on the wall a few weeks ago while we were working on subtraction homework, you would have flown away as fast your wings could carry you. How he was speaking to me in his frustration was hurtful and infuriating. I tried to be even-keeled, but sheesh, I’m just a “tiny little woman”! (-Monica, Friends)

Laura
Virginia

I get it! You’re sincerely trying to help and because you’re not in class and you don’t know the “real” way it’s done, you got the brunt of the anger. You’re not speaking the same language.

Laura
Laura

That’s true. It was one miscommunication after another, and it landed us in a bad spot. At one point I said, “I think you should just turn this in unfinished and tell your teacher you need help.” He told me that I didn’t love him and that I wanted him to fail the third grade… Do you hear how insane that is?

Laura
Virginia

Aw, poor kiddo. He was acting out of his feelings and it sounds like it escalated quickly, with you as the easy target. 😢

Laura
Laura

And that really got me thinking about our relationship, and clearly it needs some work to patch things up (we are working on it), but I got to thinking about what I’m teaching my son about who he is when we are doing homework. Does this seem like an unreasonable leap in logic?

Laura
Virginia

I think God uses all kinds of things to grow us. 😊

Laura
Laura

That’s right, even fights over subtraction! 😉 I just want to be sure that I’m not sending him mixed messages about homework. I mean, I love him no matter what he gets on his homework. And I always say that God loves him NO MATTER WHAT! So does his reaction to the homework show me that I’m not teaching that? Or does it show me that homework can just be tough to do with kids? I just want to be sure.

Laura
Virginia

It can be a tricky area. Some people are adamantly against homework (“Just let kids be kids!”) and others expect a perfectly planned out future if the homework grade is a solid ‘A’.

Laura
Laura

That’s quite the spectrum! And I want to keep the proper perspective on this. Because no matter how you feel from a philosophical perspective or an educational perspective, it isn’t really just about homework, but about anything that needs to be done.

Laura
Virginia

It can be challenging. I’ve heard it said that struggles don’t give things to us, but reveal what’s always been hiding inside of us. So with your son, I don’t think it’s necessarily that exact math paper, but some things he’s collected in his heart and you noticed that. But that’s what you’re saying – you’re digging deeper.

Laura
Laura

Right. It’s about what he sees and understands as his identity in God. It’s who he IS not what he DOES that defines him.

Laura
Virginia

Right! He’s a child of God, holy and dearly loved.

Laura
Laura

Right again! So how do we as moms reinforce who they are aside from what they do while still holding the “dos” in a proper place of importance. Because, let’s be clear… he still needs to do what his teacher asks him to do.

Laura
Virginia

Certainly. We need to demonstrate the value of submitting to authority (especially when we don’t like the message) and homework/school is a huge part of that at this age.

Laura
Laura

And there are huge benefits of working hard at something and trying our best. As a high school teacher, I ask my students to do their best, and I tell them that whatever the result, they are not their grades. But it’s hard to understand the difference between doing and being. I still mix that up and catch myself striving to prove my worth, when I know my identity isn’t in the doing, but in the being loved by God.

Laura
Virginia

I get that too! God spells out the difference in His Word. We have an identity (created in His image) and He expects us to do our best when it comes to our assignments (a.k.a. school, work, marriage, parenting, being daughters, etc). He doesn’t tie what we do with whose we are. I think that’s what He expects from us to teach our kids, too.

Laura
Laura

That’s a great reminder. Ok, so homework might always be tough. Most kids don’t want to do it. It’s ok that we have meltdowns about it. I’m going to focus first on teaching my kids their value as a child of God. And then try to separate the value of hard work and not put too much emphasis on the results.

Oh, gee, look at the time! It’s almost 4:00 p.m. That’s when we do homework around here!

Laura
Virginia

Okay, Remember you are not your kid’s homework success. And he isn’t, either. 😉

Laura
Laura

Thanks!

Laura

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15 NIV
  • “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters…” Colossians 3:23 NIV 
  • “We can conclude that a person has God’s approval by faith, not by his own efforts.” Romans 3:28 God’s Word
  • “…know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[a] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:16 NIV

Music to inspire you:

 

Readings and Resources to come alongside of you:

Related Posts on Texting The Truth:

Living Out the Truth 

Ideas to try:

  • Think about how your parents prioritized schoolwork. What would you like to repeat with your own kids? 
  • Develop an after school routine: unpack backpack, snack, 20 minute break (exercise!), begin homework.
  • Tackle the easier homework assignments first. Build momentum with small successes.
  • Set a time limit on certain assignments. Once our kiddos are filled with too much frustration, academic performance suffers.
  • Talk it out. Share your own struggle of wanting to “do it all” and failing and yet still being God’s beloved child. 
  • Talk all the time about your child always being a loved member of your family no matter what.  Talk all the time about your child being a beloved child of God no matter what.

{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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