[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Mama!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to Grade 2 next year!!!!!!!!!!!” This is the first thing my baby girl (7) said as she ran through the door when she got back from school the day they closed. It was only yesterday we were excited about her going to BIG SCHOOL! We rejoiced when she started Grade 1. We were caught up in the excitement of seeing her in her school uniform and now the school year has already come to a close…How time flies!!!! She ran to where I was with the biggest smile on her face. I of course hugged her and told her how very proud I am of her. Her older brother also came in to hand me both their reports. The recurring word in both of their reports was…PROMOTED! Her teacher wrote she was promoted to Grade 2 and her brother is promoted to Grade 6!
We are all given reports in different areas of our life. When your child says you are the best mom in the whole entire world; or you are the best dad. When your spouse praises you and tells you how much they love you and how “if I were to do this all over again I will choose you” they are giving you a report. We all live under a microscope where our loved ones observe everything we do; how we react to different situations. Our children, especially, mirror our actions.
This week is the end of another school year in South Africa and children all over our nation received their school reports that will determine if they continue to the next grade; reports that will show the parent their children’s progress during the year. Yes, we have been receiving term reports but this report is the one that will determine whether they progress to the next grade. Each report has the child’s name. No two children get the same report as no two children have written quite the same test and given the same answers. Even if identical twins go to the same school and are in the same class taking the same subjects they get their own different reports outlining the results that each were given.
When learners get these reports throughout the year they have an opportunity to see where they should improve in order to make it to the next grade. They can be overwhelmed by a low term mark or it can motivate them to improve. Unfortunately some learners feel so discouraged that they lose all hope of ever making the grade.What they don’t realise is that you reap what you sow. With hard work and determination I have seen both my school going kids improve tremendously in their school work! They did not get the improved marks by wishing for them but by working hard at those subjects that needed improvement. They were faithful to apply themselves when doing their homework and as time went by they saw tremendous change. My daughter in Grade 1 started the year not flowing in her reading now she reads many books. It is the same with us…There are areas in our lives that need improvement. Circumstances will only change when we apply ourselves to really doing the best we can in our “HOMEWORK”
YOU AND I HAVE OUR OWN “HOMEWORK” THAT WE MUST DO TO PASS THE GRADE OF GOOD WIFE TO BETTER WIFE; OF GOOD FATHER TO BETTER FATHER. We should look at areas in our lives that need work. We will not be perfect but there are areas where we can improve. If patience is not your strong point determine that you will improve in this area. Maybe it is listening to others. Maybe it is maintaining peace. Or lack of kindness and gentleness…whatever it is all of us have areas where we can improve. No two marriages and families are the same as they have different sets of challenges and realities. No two husbands and wives are the same. What one husband struggles with might not be the same struggle for another. Each has to concentrate on their respective HOMEWORK areas.
The Holy Spirit
Our greatest TEACHER; The Holy Spirit is always there to guide us and our fellow “learners” our family are there to help mould us to be better human beings. Let us determine to be better. We do not have to broadcast it to them telling them that “now I am working on improving this area of our marriage” or of my character. Just do it. Do the work. Remember no two people are in the same grade. Some are in Grade 1 as far as their patience is concerned and some are in Grade 4. Understand that your spouse may not have mastered some areas that you take for granted. My son in Grade 5 faced different challenges to my daughter in Grade 1. He does not even think twice about reading at this stage. His maths is quite different at Grade 5 than it was years ago. We progress in life. The struggles we faced at the beginning of our marriage are things we take for granted now in our thirteenth year of marriage.
Throughout the year at my children’s school they not only give out academic reports but reports to say how the child behaves towards other children. Are they kind to other children? Do they have a good attitude. Do they have a positive attitude? Do they help clean the class? Are they generally helpful? Are they able to interact well with other kids? It is these kinds of reports that our families will give one day. Do they say we are kind? Are we patient with them? Are we gentle? It is great to watch at prize giving ceremonies when the children validate each other; when they applaud each other. When certain children get up to receive their certificates or trophies the entire house gets involved in their celebration. People are clapping and cheering all over the room just because they know that they are so proud of them. In that room it is not only the parents and family who are proud but their friends and peers because that boy or girl has been a friend to them. That boy or girl is someone that they know; that they have interacted with. Their applause is witness that the fellow learner deserves to receive the award. How will it be with me and you? Will our children; will our spouse celebrate us? Will they cheer and clap at a job well done? Do they know us that well? WILL THEY GIVE WITNESS TO OUR KINDNESS AND LOVE?
Would I be cheered on by my family?
During the last couple of weeks parents in South Africa have been attending their children’s prize giving ceremonies. Countless proud parents have shared photos of their children on social media as they show them holding their trophies and certificates. As parents we have been proud of our kids. We have been proud of their hard work. We have been cheering them on during the year doing their homework; going to sports training. Now to see their great achievements being displayed to the world to see is giving us tremendous pride. To see various parents displaying their proud messages of their children and their fellow friends sending them well wishes…this has gotten me to wonder if I were to be graded…if I were to be marked in different subjects of marriage and family, would I receive a prize? Would I be cheered on that I am doing well? Would I be cheered on by my children; by my husband?
Mama!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to Grade 2 next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which grade are you and I going to next year? As another year is coming to a close let us purpose to not be faced with the same struggles next year that have faced us this year. Let us purpose to graduate to another level in our love for our families. Let us be diligent in doing our “HOMEWORK” and in no time at all our actions will reap rewards that will benefit our families and be a source of pride not only to ourselves but to our spouses and children!
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