I was born in 8019, wait a minute…I mean 1980. You meant what I know.
After becoming very ill with a high fever and almost dying at age three, little did my parents know what ramifications would arise from the illness. God had kept my life for a purpose. That is right, very early on in my life (around 1st grade) it became very clear that I had vision problems as well as other learning problems which included dyslexia. I struggled severely with reading and spelling. This set me on a course of intense struggle in learning. My struggles in learning brought long nights of homework with my parents, many tears and many failing grades. I was the boy praying fervently every reading time in class that the teacher would not call on me to read. This caused me to hate going to school. I wanted to quit learning. I did not realize this thorn was a gift from God.
A quick honest assessment of my struggles—yes, reading and spelling were hard for me. I would try and fail, try again and fail again and give up. I did struggle with being lazy as a boy. There were times I know I was not doing my best and I tried to hide behind my learning struggles. Yet, I had parents and teachers that would not give up. They did not label me and allow me to use my struggle as an excuse. If a D average was the best I could do, then I should have straight D’s. No F’s allowed.
My parents and I both had many tear-filled nights over homework. I would get angry because I was frustrated because I could not even understand what I was reading. Thankfully, my parents disciplined me when I got angry, they did not give me a pass for disobedience because I was a child with learning struggles. They loved me well in Christ and showed grace when needed, but they did not allow me to take the easy path. I heard many times, “Just because something is hard is not reason to get angry.” I would respond, “But it is hard, I can’t do this stuff!” I would hear, “Just because things are hard in life does not mean you do not have to do it.” It was a gift to be able to graduate from high school and much to the surprise of many, God had more instore including becoming a teacher and pursuing seminary and church ministry by God’s grace. God was using my parents and dyslexia to shape and mold my character. Little did I know what God’s Providential Hand would bring to my life. He guided with both a firm and gentle hand through teachers and especially my parents—vessels used to show me what true self-discipline and diligence meant.
If you are a parent with a child that is struggling in school, my heart goes out to you. I empathize with you. There is hope. Please continue to love and be patient with your child. God is working on you as well as them. But please understand that these struggles your child is going through are a gift from God, not a curse. Also, when the hard times come I pray that God gives you wisdom to shepherd their heart through those times. May you have wisdom to know how to walk your child through God-honoring responses to hard, difficult, seemingly impossible work. God is faithful and will have His perfect work in you and your child.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
P.S.- I did name my first child, Hannah. It helped with spelling.