10.03.2010

True Value

I believe that all humans are valuable, having been made in the image of God.
I believe everyone is gifted in different ways.
And those who are less gifted have something important to give to the world.
I believe God has a place in this world for each one of His children.
I believe that no matter what you are given in this life, you can rise above it, or rise because of it and triumph.

I can give a convincing argument and actually believe all that.

But when it's my own son, I have to face that what I really value is intelligence.  The kind that gets you into an Ivy League university and hired into a corner office.

When we were getting ready for Boo, HH and I prayed that he would be smart.  That was the only thing we prayed for.  Yes, yes, healthy.  But above all, smart.  We didn't ask for athletic or pretty or tall or charming.  We asked God for Smart.  I am sure HH meant it when he said because it would be the right fit.  And I must have believed that too.  But dig a little deeper and I meant I wanted Smart because Smart means an Ivy League education, a nice marriage and a house in the suburbs.

Last summer, a dear, sincere friend and I were laying on our chairs at the pool chatting about this and that.  She knows about Boo's struggles and asked me if it was harder because I was smart.  I have long believed that to know I was intelligent was to understand I was merely the recipient of good genes that were passed down to me; that it was not my own doing

Even as I answered, "Yes...."  Even as the word came out of my mouth it rang false...dissonant...arrogant. 

As the week went by, that exchange kept coming back to me.  Raising Boo is NOT hard because I am *so* smart!  It is hard because I am Impatient.  Is impatience linked with Intelligence?  No!  May it never be!  Quick-tempered by nature,  I get impatient with this child, this special treasure, this precious one because....?  Why?  Merely because of my nature?  or is there something stinking in the cellar?

Here's what I learned: I get impatient because I am not actually interested in helping him learn, but because I want him to fit into my world.  Fit into my mold of Smart = Valuable.  Fit into this peg, dammit!

Fill in the blank.  Push the right button.  Pull the right lever.  Ding! Ding! Ding!! Then you will be of True Value.  In my eyes.

 And that is just. plain. dumb.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can see where you are coming from. My son is not learning disabled, but neither is he gifted or extra intelligent.

It depresses me when other kids have more patience than him and are therefore perceived as "smarter."

I've seen Boo's work that you have shown and he seems pretty darn talented!

brenda said...

ditto....3 point perspective drawings of fire houses?! Boo's got talent. D'ya think he'd mind redesigning my family room the next time he's over? I'm thinking french doors would be nice but I'll let him decide.

Amy said...

Sustained difficulty always reveals what's stinking in the cellar, and there's always something. At least in my house there is.

I would find it difficult to have a very ugly child. Not because I'm beautiful, but because I'm vain. There's what's stinking in my cellar!

Christine said...

Grace- this is a wonderful thing that you have shared. Very honest and real. I believe that God humbles the proud. And sadly we are all struggling with pride in one area or another. For you it has been intelligence, for me it was looks. Boy did that come back to bite me in the butt. ;- )

My son was so pleasing to me in every way. But especially the way he looked from the second he was born. I had been concerned about that and he was flesh of my flesh. I did not want him to have red hair. I was thrilled when he came out with a head full of brown hair. I did not want him teased like I had been as a kid. It never occured to me that the teasing had actually been a large part in helping me learn to be a tenderhearted person. Had I not been teased I might have had a real attitude. God knew that.

When we adopted from Guatemala I was very anxious about what our baby was going to look like. It wasn't what you might think though- that I wanted her to be 'pretty'. Rather I wanted to personally find her looks pleasing to me. And boy did I ever. My first daughter was stunning. But it was through her that I learned how meaningless those looks were. And I remember like yesterday the day she was 2 years old toddling around the house, beautiful little thing that she was with a heart of stone. I cried out to God and said "If only she could love us- who could care what she looks like!".

For years I could not see my first daughters beauty because her behavior was so ugly. It was awful but also a huge lesson for me.

With our youngest daughter, her referral picture came over email showing elf like ears and a bald head! I had prayed for a bald baby- I knew this was my girl! I loved her little ears. When we brought her home undernourished not many people fawned over how she 'looked'. She's our intelligent child, our 6 going on 40 child, our comedian child. To everyone else. But I can't even look at her without seeing her great beauty. To me- because her heart was able to reached with love-she was beautiful from the moment I held her in my arms.

I have watched God humble sooooo many parents over the years. My sil and bil who are very quiet, reserved architects have a loud and goofy son who is the light of their lives. He isn't hung up and it's always so funny that he belongs to them.

A friend of mine who was so hung up on athletic ability and cognitive prowness had a first son who was climbing bookshelves at 18 months and communicating in intricate sentences at 15 months and a second son who had a myriad of developmental delays.

Maybe it is God's way of helping us to truly love 'our neighbor' in Christ.