Back to School!

How my mom dreaded those words. I don't know what all her reasons were but one reason she dreaded those words was because of the list of items she needed to shop for to get us prepared for the first day of school. Backpacks, lunch bags, indoor shoes and outdoor shoes, pencil case, crayons, markers, pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, erasers, glue, ruler, scissors, binders, notebooks, papers, index cards, kleenex box, all this and more ..... X 10. Not to mention new clothes for all of us. Second hand was new to us. 

Sometimes mom would reminisce about those days gone by and then she would hold her head and say, "Ack muech liva nich moll dinken on de dajg", "I'd rather not even think about those days". But somehow she always managed to survive another, and another and yet another school year. She never gave us the impression that she could hardly wait for us to go to school to get us out of her hair. In fact it was just the opposite. She wanted us at home and she was willing to teach us life skills even if she couldn't teach us academics. And to her that was much more important. I read a quote the other day that said "What good would it be to get straight A'sin school but flunk at life." Hmmm...

During the month of August I'm sure you've seen many flyers and store displays advertising back to school. Whether you send your kids to public school, private school or homeschool,you've already spent time and money on preparing for back to school. Parents, teachers and students alike have probably experienced some excitement and some anxiety about the start of a new school year. That's all good and normal.

Most of us are no longer in the physical classroom but all of us, if you're still breathing, are in the "school of life" where every day is an opportunity to learn something new. Along the way you are sure to make errors and mistakes, and if your humble enough to receive correction, those are often the lessons that stick the most. I read a quote recently that said "regret is a fair but tough teacher". I think very few people can say that they have no regrets. Learning from our mistakes and our regrets can make us wiser and more ready to help others. So saying that you have no regrets is like saying you have made no mistakes.

Admitting that you have made mistakes and you regret them makes you a perfect candidate to teach someone else who needs advice or help. The Dictionary says "Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another is experiencing, the capacity to place oneself in another's position." I don't think we could be very empathetic towards people if we never made mistakes and never had any regrets. So making mistakes if we learn from them is a good thing. In fact those who have failed a few times are often more successful at life. Just don't go making mistakes and on purpose. That would be foolish. But what I'm saying with that is allowing God to use your mistakes and your failures and turning it into something beautiful and useful, instead of wallowing in self-pity because of your mistakes and failures.

Sometimes in all the learning and growing in life we get put to the test. 

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. 

It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold." 
1 Peter 1:7

 "because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." 

James 1:3

I just want to share with you a few things that I have been learning in "school" lately.

Lesson 101. Letting go of things you can not change. When you feel you can't control certain situations any more you become fearful and then when you act out that fear you say and do foolish things and it can quickly backfire. So instead of trying to control the situation just let go and let God. I know that sounds cliche but it's just how it is.

Lesson 102. Learning to be more apathetic to towards others who are going through a difficult situation or season. Let's just admit it. We are all guilty of observing how someone is handling a situation and thinking why are they doing it that way. They should just give that kid a good spanking. They should just tell that teenager that as long as they live under my roof you do as I say. They should just..... We have all the answers until....Its easy to become judgemental over a situation from the outside looking in. But when you go through the same thing and your easy solutions are gone, it really draws your heart close to people that are also struggling and hurting over the same thing you are or have gone through.

Lesson 103. Learning to enjoy life even before you see a breakthrough. Have you ever had to face something very hard and you have prayed and prayed until you have no more words left.It's easy to start feeling as if this is where you'll stay. 

You're just stuck. 
You start throwing pity parties without guests, balloons or streamers. 
You walk around with a dark cloud hovering over your head. 
But you have a decision to make. 
You can stay in this dark place shrivel up and die or you can look up and beyond the situation, keep praying, and still enjoy life. 
Give yourself permission to still smile, laugh and enjoy life. It's possible.

How about you? What lessons are you learning? 

Are you passing that on to other people? Are you willing and humble enough to listen to what others are learning and learn from them? Or just simply listening to them and sympathize with them and what they're going through. Are you satisfied with what you "know" in life? I've heard a man who is in his 70's say the older he gets the more he realizes how little he knows and how much there is yet to learn. That's humility.

And may I give a little suggestion that could make this "school of life" a whole lot easier for our fellow classmates? Life can get so complex and difficult. Can we just give each other a break?

We can educate ourselves about so many subjects. And then once we think we know it all we judge others who don't think like we do. In our circle of women it seems to be subjects like hospital birth or home birth, epidural or no epidural, vaccinate or not vaccinate, homeschool, private school or public school, and then there's the ever increasing organic food debate. We need to build each other up instead of throwing sticks and stones on the playground. Take each other by the hand instead of tripping each other in the hallway.So whatever season of life you're in, what ever level you're at, we are all in this "school of life"together. So let's encourage and "exhort one another daily, as long as it is called today...."Hebrews 3:13 until graduation day.

Have a good day at school, Margaret Reddekopp

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