We began the homeschool journey at our home a little over a month and a half ago, and I can say that I have felt unqualified and inadequate to teach my incredible boys for approximately…. a little over a month and a half! I find myself daily questioning every decision I make as their ‘teacher.’ They might not be learning as they should, but I have learned at an expert level how to beat myself up. Yes, I am definitely my harshest critic.
The Lord God knew the state of my fearful heart, and He certainly knows how to quiet such fears and bring peace. I was in need of a touch from the Lord as I was struggling with this new role, and He sent that touch from the mouth of my beautiful son Nathan.
It is a challenge to determine how much knowledge and information Nathan truly takes in and understands. There are some topics that he will speak of in unlimited amounts, such as Disney Infiniti for XBox 360. But there is also a vast amount of information that seems to go to some secret place in his beautiful mind where it is securely locked and sealed. The more I try to get him to divulge and share in conversation on such things, the tighter that lock seems to become. Communication and conversation deficits are steady struggles in the world of autism. This can be discouraging at times, and I sometimes wonder if what I am sharing with and teaching him isn’t lost in space somewhere. For example,….
It was easily over a year ago when I tried to engage Nathan in a conversation about prayer. He has for many years now given the same type of rote and repetitive prayers. I recall trying to explain to him what an honor and incredible gift it was to have an audience with the Lord God who created the entire universe, and that if he searched his heart, he might find many new and beautiful words to speak to God. Now true and heartfelt prayer is a deep and abstract concept, so I had no way of knowing if Nathan truly grasped what I was trying to teach him. His prayers did not change, so I presumed it was a lesson lost. But I also shared with him to end a prayer with a sure and mighty AMEN, as the word amen literally meant ‘it is.’ I assured him that God heard his prayers, and that if any of us pray according to God’s word and His will, then the Amen at the end was the final and absolute confirmation…yes, IT IS. I get all excited over such things, but I still smile as I picture Nathan just looking at me with those uncertain and doubtful eyes, followed by silence. And with that the conversation was done. When Nathan is done talking, he is done talking. But boy do those wheels in his fabulous head keep turning. It would be over a year when confirmation would come that he indeed laid hold of some of that momma/son chat.
I had decided the other week that I would go over some topics in grammar with both boys together to get a gauge for where they were at. One lesson I chose was about contractions. As I was going over it, I began to write some words on our white board that could be united to form a contraction. My list included: have not, we will, you are, and it is. I left the column next to these phrases blank so that the boys could fill in what the new word would be. And so down the list we went…haven’t, we’ll, you’re,…and then we came to ‘it is’. Before Caleb could muster a response, Nathan shouted out an exuberant…”AMEN, ‘it is’ means Amen!”
I could hardly catch my breath when I heard him speak this. His face was lit up with pride, as he knew he had nailed it. IT IS…yes, that means Amen, or didn’t you know that???!! Thank you for the reminder Nathan, and thank you for never ceasing to amaze me.
And thank you Lord God for the assurance that with your guidance and love, I can indeed teach my sons. We can all teach one another, as our words certainly do leave a lasting impact, whether we realize it or not. Each day is an opportunity for a new ‘lesson.’ Make it a worthy one.