Monday, September 14, 2009

Do Over!

We homeschool.

This statement elicits a myriad of responses and suggests as many teaching styles.

Homeschool stereotypes are not hard to come by. Some suit us, others do not. I’m not sure that you could label us a typical homeschool family, because no two are alike. The most common characteristic of families who homeschool is they are Independent.

Given that disclaimer, it shouldn’t be too surprising that my children are fairly independent learners, but like any child they require good instruction to point them in the right direction.

One particular morning my newly initiated second-grader was demonstrating just such independence. She had been attacking her math all morning, completing three days of assignments (6 pages) in one sitting without my prompting. While I busied myself with varied household duties she moved on to Grammar.

Between Laundry and dishes I wandered over to check on her and discovered that she had entered unfamiliar territory. She was faced with putting a group of words in alphabetical order.

The directions were clear enough to me but baffled my daughter. Being the self-starter that she is, she moved forward performing the task as best she knew how without asking for my help.

She took the list of five words she was given – EAT, ORANGE, ABOVE, GRAPE and BANANA and instead of placing the group in ABC order, she alphabetized each word. EAT became AET, ORANGE became AEGNOR...well you get the picture! She had done an excellent job in HER assessment of the situation, and I praised her for her ingenuity; however she did not complete the task assigned. She had misunderstood and consequently had to do it again. It was an understandable mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, which resulted in having to start over.

How often have I with the best of intentions moved forward on my own accord doing just what I thought was best or necessary and made a great mess of things simply because I misinterpreted a situation or flat out didn’t understand? I wish life was as easy as Grammar. Just read the directions, follow the instructions, and at the end of the day wad up the pieces of life that I did wrong, throw them away and start over.

I spend so much time agonizing over the consequences of my actions real and imagined that I often make things worse through my worry or attempts to make things right. Though I can’t cite a “do over” and change my past I can admit to my error and ask forgiveness for a wrong and clear direction for the future.

The Psalmist King David writes of God:

"he does not treat us as our sins deserve or
repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:10-12

John writes:

"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.' But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"
John 8:3-11

What incredibly good news! Through Jesus, God has given us a “do over.” If we confess our sin before him and leave it behind, he no longer holds it against us. We may not be able to undo our mistakes big or small, but we can start over with a better understanding.

That is why I am thankful for the Bible which introduces us to God, reminds us of his faithfulness through past generations and enlightens us of his promises for our future. Through this guide He provides clear direction for anything we will encounter and grants us an unparalleled opportunity to start over – with better instructions!

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