I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I currently work for a program called Brain Balance as a cognitive coach. I work with kids and some young adults with a variety of learning, and behavioral challenges. In the course of my time working with these struggling students, I’ve learned a lot. Because my student’s challenges are so extreme, their challenges are quite obvious. And because they are children, they don’t have the sophistication of adults who hide, excuse and mask their struggles.
As I’ve worked with my students, I’ve discovered some of my own flawed thinking about life. I’ve found myself thinking similar thoughts as theirs and making similar declarations. It’s much easier to see someone else’s flaws than it is to see your own. But the Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher and a revealer of truth. He continues to teach me many lessons about life (and myself) through my students.
I’d like to share just a few of the lessons that I’ve learned from them, with the hopes that perhaps you will gain some insight as well.
Past failure doesn’t determine our present or our future success
So many of my students start out sessions having already decided that they are failures. It is quite common for a student to declare with absolute sincerity and certainty that they cannot complete assignment without even the slightest attempt. They give up before they even try.
We fail at 100% of the things we refuse to try–every time!
What students often don’t perceive are the changes taking place in the brains. Their functional capabilities are changing, so what was once overwhelming and too difficult, have become much easier. And on top of that, they have me there to guide them through their assignments.
So I’m learning to be willing to do things that I’ve been unsuccessful in achieving in the past because today is a new day. I now know and understand things I didn’t know before. And even if I don’t succeed, I’m making progress. I’m learning in the process.
Perhaps you too are facing a similar obstacle that you’ve faced in the past. Perhaps you’ve already decided the outcome because of a past experience. Remember, today is a new day! The circumstances of life are different. You aren’t the same person you were in the past. You’re stronger, and hopefully, you’ve enlisted the help of someone who can guide you through this obstacle. Please contact me, if I can be that person for you.
But here’s the best news: We have been invited to confidently approach the King’s throne of grace in order to receive help in our time of need. God promises that’s he’s always present and ready to come to our aid when we’re in need.
Our Goal isn’t perfection, it’s simply giving our best and trusting God with the results.
For most of them, success is measured by their ability to be “perfect”. When they cannot achieve perfection, they are often devastated. I don’t expect perfection. I expect good effort, and progress. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to tell my students, “I don’t expect perfection. Just do your best.” This is God’s constant message to me as well.
Lately, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me I should never, ever, EVER trust in human effort. (It doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give effort.) Human effort cannot accomplish God-sized plans and purposes. But His power within us can! His mighty power works within us to fulfill His purposes in the world, and that requires us to be completely dependent on Him. That makes us Super-Moms! Moms who have been given super human power to accomplish humanly impossible feats. I really want to learn how to live more and more like this everyday. How about you?
Hyper focus on the details, keeps us from missing out on what’s most important
Recently, I’ve been working with a student that is so focused on details– order, cleanliness, avoiding germs, forming letters “perfectly”– that these details become a distraction. I guess you could say he’s OCD. Though I’ve made it clear to him that I need him to complete an assignment, he can’t or won’t begin the assignment until his board is perfectly clean, and he has set up his board perfectly. And here’s the kicker, he may not finish the assignment because he’s so distracted by things that don’t matter. I don’t care how neat he writes his answer. I just need the answer. I need him thinking about the answer. I need him expressing his thoughts on paper. I don’t care how perfect his letters are.
So here’s what I’ve learned: Often these distracting details keep us from doing things that are hard for us. It’s a form of procrastination. Also these details are all about what we want, not about what others need. It’s easy as a mom to become consumed with a perfectly clean home, or children who are perfectly groomed, or the need to have every meal amazing when honestly, our kids don’t care. And in the greater scheme of life–it doesn’t really matter. Don’t let the details distract you from doing what’s most important.