I wasn’t prepared for the pain my heart would feel watching my middle child learn to speak. When Ben was two and a half my mommy heart told me his speech development was not where it should have been. A trip to a respected speech therapist at the Mayo Clinic confirmed what my heart had already known. Ben had a significant speech disorder.

Thus began our experience with therapy. Two to three times a week, for a year, we made time in our life for speech therapy. By the second year we graduated to once a week. Throughout this experience, Ben has been an amazing little trooper!  I can’t explain how proud we are of his progress, which was born from his perseverance.

Time and time again we correct Ben’s speech in the course of a day, modeling correct pronunciation for him. He asks for a treat by saying, “I can have a granola bar?” and we correct, “Can I have a granola bar?”   Patiently he fixes his error. We ask him which kind he would like to have and he says, “I yust want whis one.”  Again, we model, “I just want this one. Stick out your tongue, buddy.”  He tries again, sometimes multiple times. Successful, he takes his granola bar and off he goes, never complaining, never getting frustrated with our interruptions, and never giving up.

Ben has learned a great deal about correct speech from his lessons, but he has unwittingly taught us even more. He has taught us to persevere, to never give up no matter how difficult the climb to the top. To quote my precious son as he retells the story of The Little Engine that Could, “I fink I can.”  You’d better believe it!  He does.

 

Let us not become weary in doing good,

for at the proper time we will reap a harvest…if we don’t give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NIV

 

Persevere is such a great word!  The prefix “per” means to go through something. The root “severe” refers to something that causes distress or difficulty. Sometimes in life we have no choice but to persevere. We have to keep on going, even if the road is rough and seems endless.

It can be difficult to watch our children experience circumstances that require their perseverance. Our little ones have to persevere as they learn many of their life skills. Toddling about on their little legs for the first time requires perseverance. They take a step, flap their little arms for balance, and fall down. Then they roll forward to their knees, push themselves up, struggle for balance, and attempt another step. This is perseverance in action.

As parents, we want to run to their rescue. We anticipate their frustration as their wobbly legs fail them, and we long to come to their aid. Stepping in eliminates their momentary anxiety, but it does nothing to teach perseverance or skills that will be necessary as they mature. Instead, we need to set realistic expectations for our preschoolers and allow them to learn skills through their trials and errors. Then we need to focus our attention more on their effort and less on their performance. Celebrate their stick-to-it-iveness with enthusiasm!

We all have mountains to conquer. The goal isn’t to be the first one to the summit. Rather, the goal for our little ones is to keep moving, for we “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)  Our preschoolers need to keep on keeping on to become all God has planned for them.

 

And so I Pray…

Dear Faithful God, It is so awesome to know that nothing I do is accomplished without you!  You are worthy!  Holy!  Mighty!  Yes!  Lord, sometimes I’d rather give up than continue on toward my goal. What kind of example am I for __________?  Please teach me your ways. Encourage my child as he perseveres through the challenges that come his way. Thank you for seeing the greatest potential for __________. Show him how he may give you his best!  I rejoice in the challenges you place in __________’s path because I know it “produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us…. ” (Romans 5:4-5 NIV)  Amen.

 

*Taken from my book, Parenting On Your Knees.

 

 

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Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years

Strap on your sense of humor and don some knee pads as you prepare to be equipped for/by Parenting on Your Knees: Prayers and Practical Guidance for the Preschool Years. Vicki Tiede provides parents of preschoolers tools and strategies for parenting and praying when sleep and alone time are at a minimum. You will find hope and encouragement to nurture and pray for your child’s character, behavior, social skills, development, and spiritual growth.

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