Friday, January 30, 2009

From Dread to Delight

On Wednesday I got one of those phone calls that puts a pit in your stomach.

"Jennifer, this is Carli Robinson from Southside Christian School. I was wondering if you could come in tomorrow at 2 p.m. We need to make you aware of some issues that we've been having with your sons."

"Both of them????"

"Yes, both of them. Can you come in at 2 tomorrow?"

Gulp. "Yes, I can be there."

It was my annual call from the teacher. Once a school year I get a call like this. To the boys' credit, it is never exactly the same issue twice and after the one meeting the issues are usually resolved for the remainder of the year. This is because the boys fear me (a little) and David (a lot). This is a good, healthy kind of fear. The kind of fear we should have before God. The kind of fear that is bathed in love and rooted in a deep desire to please Dad. For the most part, the teachers know they will have an ally in us, and that just alerting us to the problem is more than enough to make our boys get serious about solving it.

Here is the really twisted part: though I dread these parent-teacher conferences, I always come away from them feeling deeply grateful for my children, proud of who they are, and confident that that God is hard at work in their lives. The "issues" are never big surprises to me and they are things that would not even be addressed if my boys were in a public school setting--the teachers always make a point of telling me this. Through these conferences I get a glimpse of my boys through the eyes of the people to whom I entrust them for almost 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. While there are the "issues" to deal with, the other things I hear are so affirming. They love Graham's dry sense of humor. They delight in Chandler's enthusiasm. They go on and on and on about how smart they are--almost as if they need to convince me (they don't). They speak of leadership abilities, gifted writing abilities, evidence of integrity. I smile inside, bursting with pride.

In the end, I am thankful for teachers who genuinely love my boys and want them to experience God's best. And I am thankful for two boys who want the same thing.

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