Friday, December 7, 2012

Kick the Door Down

As a parent, I think one of the most challenging things to navigate is when your kids have to deal with disappointment.
My crazy, coo coo ten year old, Alex, has dealt with disappointment and heart ache this week.  For the fifth year in a row, she didn't get a part in her school's Christmas program.  Now, I'm not writing this to gather your support to tear any walls down, that's not it at all; but I am praying on how to walk through this with Alex and emphasize Christ's love in all circumstances. 
At the heart of it, I know my sweet girl just wants a chance to shine, to be recognized out of the crowd, to be seen as someone special, even for just a three word part.  Alex intellectually knows that she is God's girl, His child, but emotionally that's hard to stand on in moments like these.  It's times like right now that God is building her faith and character.  To be honest, she's not buying my well intentioned encouragement and exhortations. 
On Fridays, I do a 5-10 minute read aloud with my students; it's a nice way to end the week.  We are currently reading from an awesome book called Love Does by Bob Goff.  In order to make the stories work for a public school setting, I modify some parts.  All in all, the stories are classic and quite character building. 
Today's story started like this, "I used to think God guided us by opening and closing doors, but now I know sometimes God wants us to kick some doors down."  It proceeded with Bob's personal story about how he kicked the door down to get into law school; it's pretty cool.
I keep thinking back to the past few weeks with Alex.  Everyday she would get in the car and announce to me how many parts were left to be handed out in the Christmas program, in hopes that maybe one would be hers.  I would pray for her, and I KNOW she was praying about it too!  Finally, just the other day, she hopped in the car and said, "Well, I have really good news.  Mrs. ___ is adding one more part to the program."  Oh, my heart was hoping that it could be for her, but I cautiously told Alex to pray about it and that, no matter what, we knew she would do an amazing job in the program and that she didn't need a part to shine and contribute to the festivities to celebrate Jesus!  She accepted my advice with hesitancy...
As you can guess, Alex didn't get that last part.  In order to teach her "good sportsmanship,"  Steve and I filled her with many of:
Not everything is fair.
God is not through with you yet.
Sometimes God's plan is a million times better than we could ever imagine.
 These are moments where God builds our faith.
Amidst all of this, she asked if she should talk to this particular teacher about her feelings.  We tread carefully with this, and encouraged her to write down what she wanted to say and to word it in such a way that would ask, more or less, how she could improve.  She ended up writing three drafts; it obviously meant something to her.  So, she tried to seize the moment, and it didn't go so well. 
What can you do?
I was reminded by Bob Goff's story that sometimes you need to kick the door down.  Bob Goff readily admits that he was not as prepared for the LSAT as he ought to be, nor was he the most studious of students, but he felt determined.  If you know the story, he sat outside the dean's office for a whole week before law school started and then five more days after it started, hoping that the dean would instruct him to, "Go get your books."  And finally it happened.
If you know anything about Bob Goff, he's extraordinary.  His international work through Restore International has helped many children through the justice system.  It's one of my dreams to go and visit his school in Uganda, where many of these children have a home, are educated, and loved. 
Where would Bob Goff be if he didn't sit outside the dean's office?  What if he just accepted the simple rejection letter? 
There could be a number of answers to those questions, but I can't imagine Bob Goff doing anything else than what he's doing right now.  He couldn't be doing any of it without his law degree which he only accomplished because he first did not accept a simple no. 
So, what if I go home tonight and tell Alex that if she really wants, she can express her thoughts without trepidation; sometimes we don't have to accept the no.  It's a risk, but maybe it's worth it. I don't know if the elementary school Christmas program is her place to claim her stake, but I wonder if the advice I gave her was really what I should be telling her; to just politely accept the No's in life. 
I'm not saying that every battle is worth fighting, but some are.  Seeing my child cry herself to sleep over something makes me think that this means something to her in her ten year old world.  Maybe it is worth kicking down the door.  I don't know if she's going to become a Broadway actress, but perhaps this could teach her to fight for the important stuff. 
The "great perhaps" is definitely there.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  It could be a great dialogue for us! Much love and God bless, friends.

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