Yahoo! I am shouting for joy today because something wonderful happened when my son Colin came home! He didn’t tell me about his apple. Now some of you are squinching your eyebrows together. And some of you are nodding your head because you know all about apples. In my son’s class there is an apple tree. If you have a great day, your apple stays on the tree. If after a warning you are still rule-challenged, your apples begins its descent downward. It can barely fall (1), fall half-way(2), or fall to the ground(3).
Colin is all boy. Those of you who are mothers of boys know exactly what I’m talking about. He can often be found testing balancing skills on the top of the swing set (yes, the very top), sneaking around corners with the Dollar Tree’s best ninja sword tucked down the back of his shirt, or putting Barbie in jail with no chance for bail. Life with Colin is never, I mean NEVER, boring! Last year in Kindergarten, Colin’s class had a color chart for behavior. He would bound off the school bus each afternoon calling out his color for that day. Each day I would nervously walk to the bus stop in anticipation of what that day’s color would be. Being a former teacher, I expected purple and blue days every day. Instead, I could have painted a beautiful sunset with all the red, yellow, and oranges he brought home.
This was a time of great trial for me. I cried and asked God why he couldn’t behave. God reminded me that he made Colin for a purpose, and he showed me all the other things my precious first born was good at. He was smart. He could ride a bike without training wheels. He loved Jesus. He was my baby.
Summer came and with it some relief over not worrying about behavior every day. At the end of the summer, Jerry Pipes came to our church and preached a sermon called “What Makes Families Work.” It was incredible. (Click on the link and scroll down to that sermon and click to view the sermon.) He said some things that really made me think. I decided that I was expecting too much from Colin, and I needed to back off a little. Alan and I had discussed that we wanted Colin to be excited about the learning and not so focused on the behavior.
First grade started; with it came the apple tree. With my new attitude, I waited on the school bus to arrive. When Colin hopped off, he was holding up his number one finger telling me “One time down, ” referring to his apple. “That’s ok, tell me what you did fun today,” was my response. I wanted to take the focus off of the behavior and on to the learning and fun of school. Each day the same, he would tell me his apple came down once (which translates as just beginning to fall off the tree). Each day, I responded the same. As days went by, he began to tell me more and more of the things he was excited about learning. I heard about all kinds of fun things he did and even what he had for lunch. I found myself excited to go to the bus stop instead of anxious.
He has kept his apple on the tree a handful of days. But today was the greatest. He got off the bus and came running, only stopping to grab a leftover birthday cupcake from our neighbor. He told me he went to art today and to the computer lab. We had hardly got in the house before he threw down his backpack and emptied the contents. He had a drawing from art, which I oohed and ahhed over. Then he pulls out a blank paper and says, “If I draw a bus and bring it back, I’ll get $100!” I assured him that it was probably fun money to use in the classroom. Then he grabs a gallon zip-loc with a book and paper inside and yanks it open. “Sit down, Mommy. I am going to read you this. I am really good at it. Then you have to sign the paper.” He read me the book and then went to wash his sticky cupcake hands. I came to give a little help, since the 2 seconds his hands were under the water didn’t really get the icing off.
That was when I noticed it. He had THE smiley face stamp on his hand. THE stamp that you only get if your apple stays on the tree all day. I asked him about it and he said, “Oh yeah, I had a great day today. My apple stayed up.” I was so proud. I was proud that his apple stayed up, but I was most excited about him not telling me that first. I was excited that his school bus drawing and his new book won out over the apple tree. I was excited that finally, he was focused on the learning. I was excited that I had forgotten to ask about the apple. And finally, I was focused on him. I hugged him a little harder. This is what being a mom feels like. It’s a good feeling.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I'm one sassy southern Mama who loves Jesus and isn't afraid to shout it. My passions are Jesus, my husband, my kids, and chocolate. I'm a teacher turned Christian writer. Ask me why I love Jesus and be prepared to sit a spell.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, but don't forget to love your neighbor as yourself. I am a firm believer that we can change the world one person at a time - by being Christ with the skin on to those who are in need.
Are you a sheep or a goat?