Thursday, April 5, 2012

What Example Am I Setting?

David did his math lesson today.  After checking his answers, he came into the room crying that he was stupid at math because he got six problems wrong.  Admittedly, six is a lot for him.  He usually only misses one, maybe two.  But stupid at math?  I don't think so.  He's eight years old working his way through fifth grade math.  I sent him back to rework the missed problems.  He got two wrong.  He was really upset, but I sent him back to rework them anyway.  He finally got them all right.  When I declared all his answers correct, he gave a huge sigh of relief and said, "Finally!"

As a child, my mom used to say that I was the queen of the half job.  She'd ask me to hang up my coat, so I'd throw it in the closet.  She'd tell me again to hang it up, so I'd hang it on the vacuum cleaner handle.  She'd tell me yet again, and I'd throw it at a hanger.  Eventually I would finally get the coat on an actual hanger looking like I had done it intentionally.

I'd like to think that I've come a long way since those half-job days, but every now and then I still find myself wanting to quit.  I tackle a project and I just can't get it right.  I can feel the stress and anger welling up inside me.  I've been trying to master the art of making whole wheat bread for months.  My bread turns out like a brick or flat like a pancake.  I cannot seem to get it right.  I can make awesome white bread in many varieties, but whole wheat and I just don't seem to be friends.  As you can see by the picture, yesterday's attempt, while tasty, does not exhibit much rise.  I thought I'd finally figured it out. The dough paned when I stretched it, it rose really well, but still flat.  It's tempting to throw in the towel and give up.  To stick with white flour.  But now it's personal.  I am GOING to conquer whole wheat bread even if I end up with high blood pressure from the stress of it!

Other times I get going on a project, get halfway done, and want to quit because I'm tired of the project and want to do something else.  Yesterday I got around to transplanting some of my overcrowded seedlings.  I made up new milk jug greenhouses, added the dirt, and went to transplant the seedlings.  We had two visiting friends over so all 5 kids were crowded around me asking questions, asking to help, getting in the way, running off with my tools, playing in the dirt in the milk jugs, etc.  My patience was wearing thin.  I did see the project through to the end, but I was definitely ready to quit in the middle.  

Every time I fail or want to quit, I remind myself that persevering at something even when it's not working or is hard is an example I am setting for my children.  My children are watching and will emulate what they see. If I don't persevere, how can I expect them to persevere when something is difficult?  Today it was just a math set.  Tomorrow it could be their faith in Jesus.  Life is messy.  Things don't always work out the way we want them to.  It takes a lot of effort to remain steadfast in your faith that God is in control.  Learning to persevere as a child is a stepping stone to learning to persevere in your faith as an adult.

What example are you setting for your children?


  1. I'm going to tell you the secret of whole wheat bread. If you want it to be light and fluffy, you have to beat the stuffings out of it. (I think it does something to the gluten). Then, you put it in a ball and let it rise. Punch it down and let it rise a 2nd time. I think sometimes I would do it a third time. Each rise makes it lighter. [Note: If you go too many rises, it dies and won't rise again.] That's the secret.

  2. I punched it down twice and then let it rise a third time before baking, but maybe I'm not kneading it long enough. I thought I had this last time, but obviously not.