Both Teen and Tween have learning “differences.” [I hate the term “disability” because, as The Gift of ADHD points out, what society calls a disability comes with its own gifts.] They are both intelligent, and both have gifts that make typical classroom learning a challenge. They might do great at the right charter or private school, but we don’t have that opportunity. And homeschooling would be ridiculously bad for all of us. So we do our best in public schools. Fortunately we have access to extremely good public schools.

Tween had a bad child-teacher match last year. We advocated long and hard for him and yet perhaps insufficiently. I hate being the squeaky wheel and a bigger parenting goal is to equip my kids to persevere even when the going is tough, as it often is.

Prior to this school year, a neighbor suggested I chat with another neighbor, a school psychologist in another district. She read Tween’s file and afterwards recommended that we ask to have him retested as he was previously too young for certain tests that could be revelatory; she felt certain the school would concur.

They didn’t, and I left the meeting in turmoil. Great news: he seems to be doing great. Bad news: we don’t have a complete picture of him as a learner. Major potholes and obstacles likely await him on Education Road. As parents, we will have lots of work to do, meeting with countless teachers and administrators, meanwhile equipping him with various coping strategies and bolstering his courage.

It shouldn’t have to be this hard, but sometimes it is.

Our hearts break for our kids, for the hurts they have and will experience. No avoiding the entwining of a parent’s nervous system with her child’s.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Casting Crowns concert with some friends. Their latest album is Thrive, and the song Dream for You caught my attention:

Let me dream, let me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, get caught by my hand
I’ll show you what I can do when I dream for you

I have dreams for my life, but God’s dreams for me might be different. I have dreams for my kids; they have dreams of their owns; but God holds all of us in His hands. Of course I need to pray and make my best attempt at wise parenting decisions, but I need to let go of the worry and fear. Another line from the song says, “Come to me, find your rest, in the arms of the God who won’t let go.” I can’t change a single thing through my anxiety. When I trust God, I can rest in His arms.

God made these young men, “fearfully and wonderfully,” complete with their strengths and weaknesses. He has planned good deeds for them to do. He wants to know and be known by them, to walk through life in relationship with them, to love them. We all have a better chance at thriving as I make the decision to model faith in God and His dreams for them.

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