It is teacher appreciation week at our children’s school. A time we get to thank those who help our children flourish and fulfill their life purposes. When you have school going children, a report given by a teacher matters.
You see, almost two years ago I found myself asking the question above. We had relocated to Abidjan and had many concerns about the country. Our main worry was finding a school where our children would thrive. Prior to this, a psychologist had evaluated our son. Even though his report did not point to a specific problem, he made some observations that were disturbing.
For example, when I inquired whether he would be able to sustain the pressure in some schools and manage to sit in a class with over 20 pupils his response was “do not even waste your time, you might as well leave him at home”. Of course this weighed heavily on our hearts. In addition to this he concluded he would not be able to sit for any kind of exam in the allotted time; he would always need to be given extra time.
We presented this report, our son did the entry exams and received admission in his current school. Due to circumstances beyond my control the school year started while I was out of the country. When I returned almost two months later, the new class teacher wanted to meet me. At our meeting, I inquired whether she had read the psychologist’s report, her response, “I have but I think it is exaggerated”. She proceeded to give her observations and recommendations one of which amused me. She asked that I pack him lunch. She had noticed he was going without lunch because he did not like what was offered in the canteen. This of course was affecting his mood in the afternoon. Suddenly I found myself with two reports before me!!
When Reports Conflict
Reflecting on this reminds me of a story about the twelve spies in Numbers 13. They were sent on an exploration mission to spy out a land that Moses and Aron wanted the Israelites to capture. Only two out of the twelve came back with a positive report they believed “ although the land had giants their God was bigger than the giants”. I am glad Moses chose to go with the minority report and move in to capture the land.
What comes to mind also is the movie Facing the Giants. I have watched this movie so many times and each time I get emotional.
Just like it was then, today we still have reports to contend with. In my case I chose to believe the teacher. Not only did she appear sympathetic but she also spoke with authority like she was sure the recommendations she was putting forth would bear fruit.
When Faith Bears Fruit
Sometime it takes another person of faith to stand in the gap and believe with you. In our case, we have seen tremendous fruit in our son’s life. He was able to sit in a class of over 20 pupils, manage the work load, do exams for three terms in the allotted time and excel in his studies. When he was announced among the children on honor roll I fought back tears as I heard Ron Kenoly’s song “whose report will you believe” echo in my ears.
Recently during our evening prayers we asked the children who their heroes are. To our surprise and delight our daughter mentioned that this particular teacher was her hero.
There Is Still Hope
I offer a word of encouragement to another parent who could be walking on the road of handling a child with special needs. We know that “children are gifts from God“. Ours is to accept these gifts and ask God for wisdom and grace in raising them.
We have many promises that we can claim. We know that “everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds and the one who knocks has the door opened for them”. What we have to remember however is that obedience will always precede fulfillment of these promises. And so the challenge is do not always focus on the “big reports” and forget the small but positive reports you may have received in the past. Sometimes we have to discard the majority report and hold on to the minority report.
As I contemplate what gifts we shall be giving the teachers this year, I also know I will have to face this question again as I journey through life. Will I focus on the circumstances before me or the promises I have been given and pray like our son does “thank you God for bringing us this far in life”!!