By Marilyn Turk
Everyone’s talking about “back to school” these days. If you’re familiar with Facebook, you’ve seen all the back to school pictures lately as proud (and tired) parents send their children on to the next grade.
Many of you may know that my husband and I are raising our grandson Logan. Last week, we put him on the bus that stops in front of our house and sent him off to the first day of fourth grade. Our neighborhood has many young families with children, so we get to meet them all at the bus stop. Of course, we’re the oldest people out there, in fact, we have children the age of the parents of these youngsters.
Since I’m remiss about such things, I had to see those parents taking pictures of their children on their first day of school to remember to take one of Logan on his first day. When I went back inside the house, Facebook showed me a picture we’d taken of him on his first day of Pre-K, five years ago.
A lot of thoughts ran through my head as I looked at the picture—how much he’d changed in the last five years for one. But another that occurred to me was that when he first moved in with us, we had no idea how long he would stay. And now, five years later, we still don’t know.
In the meantime, we wonder what positive effects we’ve had on him. When he came to live with us, his early life had been one of chaos, and we’d prayed for him to be raised in a godly home. Little did we know, God would answer that prayer by sending him to us.
We’ve attempted to teach him godly values. We’ve brought him to church regularly and tried to live our lives in a godly manner. However, we’re not perfect, and sometimes we’ve been tired or angry or frustrated dealing with a young, strong-willed child. People tell us what a great thing we’re doing for our grandson, but we wonder if he’ll think so someday? Will he remember any of the good things we taught him or not?
Recently, my husband admitted frustration because he was not seeing the fruit of our labor, and I had to remind him that living with us was the best place Logan could be during this time of his life. But sometimes we don’t see the results we’d like to see, and we just have to trust God to make sure our efforts have not been in vain. In fact, we may never see the effects of our time with our grandson because we may not live long enough to see how he turns out.
On the other hand, something happened recently to give me hope. My middle son, now in his 30s, is very musical. He has a music room in his home with a keyboard, several guitars and a violin. Although he was in middle school band, he chose not to go into the high school band. However, his interest in music has continued to the point where he’s formed his own bands (for fun) and writes his own music. I assumed he learned how to read music when he was in band and said so recently. Whereupon he responded, “No, Mom. You taught me how to read music on our piano when I was little.”
I vaguely remember that happening. With three boys and working full-time, I sometimes played hymns on our old upright piano just to relax. He asked me to teach him how to play, and I tried, but didn’t think he had learned, as patience was in short demand in our busy household. But he did learn. And all these years later, he’s still using what I taught him. I’m still in shock that the few lessons I gave him actually stuck.
So, we head back to school again, hoping and praying this year will be a good one for all three of us. And that my husband and I can understand the homework.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
This really struck a chord with me, Marilyn. (No pun intended.) We often do not immediately see if what we’ve been working so hard to do with our children — or in our case grandchildren — has any positive effect on them. All we can do is ask God for daily guidance and a boatload of patience.