In the area where I live the school system administers a test to determine if your child is gifted.  Some are gifted in all tested areas, some are gifted in a few areas and some are not.  This happens in the 2nd grade and determines their friends and classes until they graduate.  It’s a big deal.  In the suburb of Indianapolis where I live they call this class, Reach.

When one of my kids, Mallory, was tested she was obviously gifted.  We had to go to a meeting to determine if we wanted our child to participate in the Reach classes or the normal classes.  If we chose to send her to Reach classes she would have different teachers and more work, a lot more work.  By the end, the Reach class would excel her multiple grades ahead of the regular students.

brain neuronsIn this meeting parents got to talk to the administration and the 3rd grade Reach teacher, Ms. Widdifield.  Most of the questions centered around gathering information and concerns about the work load.  Even though the average Reach kid has been bored out of their minds in 1st and 2nd grade, parents worried about too much homework.  After a while of similarly targeted questions one dad asked, “What activities will there be that will stimulate the neurons of my child?”

My first response was a smile followed by, “What did he just say?”

If I’m being honest, my family has made fun of that comment for years now.  One of our family will be doing something mindlessly and another member of the family will say, “I don’t think that is stimulating your neurons”.  We will laugh and go back to the mindless activity.  Back to the story…

The point is this, all of the other parents and their questions were related to fears or homework concerns.  This one man didn’t care about the minimum, he wanted to know if the teacher would push his child.  He was fine with difficult work, he accepted it.  In his weirdly worded question, he was basically saying, “I want the most of out of this class for my child.  I want her to extract knowledge from this experience.”

I’m afraid that most of us when given a tough situation immediately go to fear and the work involved.  We worry and stress.  In the situation above, we had a choice to make, sometimes no choices are given.

Shouldn’t our approach be to embrace the situation and gain from it?  There are some life situations that you want to get out of as soon as possible.  Others are more learning experiences like your first child, college, first “real” job, first big failure, first death in your family, first serious illness.

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

After years of watching the Reach program, teaching the classes and noticing the results in my kids, this was the best educational decision we made for our kids.  No doubt that it was tougher for them but it was BETTER for them as well.  Your tough situation can make you better too.

Written by Ron Cloer