You guys are in for a HUGE treat. I love having guest authors for mrsblogbacktome and this is no exception. My amazing friend, Melanie Adkison and I have known each other since right after she and her sweet family moved to Birmingham in 2012 to plant a church (which is now the church we're a part of). Melanie is wife to Andy, and mom to Jude (9) and Drew (8). The first time I met her was at her house and she made dinner for a group of people. Melanie has a gift of bringing people into her home and immediately making them feel like family. She is the best listener, but is also incredibly encouraging. I just love hanging out with her, talk to her, and learn from her. Melanie is a fifth grade teacher, and when I asked her to write something about going back to school, I could have never imagined she'd bestow so much wisdom in just a one post. I told you, she's amazing, so without further adieu, here's Melanie...
As the summer began, I decided that my boys and I were going to set goals for our time away from school. I wanted to be productive during the summer and grow individually, as well as teach my kids about personal discipline and setting goals. I encouraged my boys to think through what they wanted to learn during the summer and how they wanted to grow.
My goals were to read three fiction books and two personal development books, as well as be faithful in my daily bible reading. Jude, my oldest son, proudly came up with way too many goals. He tends to be a bit zealous, and he is uber competitive. I had to help reign in his ambitions, but I loved the fact that he jumped at the idea. His goals were to run to the Winn Dixie and back twice a week, read the first book in the Harry Potter series, reach his school reading goals, and read James and Isaiah (lots of reading!).
To say that my two boys are different would be an understatement. While Jude is self-motivated, driven, and a people-pleaser; Drew is temperamental, sarcastic, could care less what I or anyone else thinks about him. Simply put, he marches to the beat of his own drum. I had a hard time getting him to set goals beyond wanting to have a yard sale and make money (Drew is all about making a dime!). But in the end, he settled on listening to the book of James, having a yard sale, washing Mommy’s car once a week, and completing his summer reading from school.
My boys and I proudly tacked our goals on the refrigerator in bright Crayola marker colors, and the first week went great! We were knocking out reading, completing school lessons, and even running to Winn Dixie! The second and third weeks went fairly well, too. But somewhere in the middle of June, amidst family vacations and summer camps, we began to lose sight of our goals. Complacency set in. By July we had almost completely forgotten about our “refrigerator goals” that we had so proudly posted only a few weeks before.
Then one day as I walked through I kitchen, I happened to glance at the refrigerator and noticed the bright colored bulleted list, and guilt and shame immediately came over me. My ambition had died so quickly. The list hung there mocking me, whispering to me, “You’re a complete failure…and a terrible example for your kids.” I stood there in front of the fridge, having completely forgotten where I was headed when I entered the kitchen, and I began to cry.
As a parent, it is my job to set an example for my kids, to teach them about responsibility, and show them what discipline and follow through look like. If I can’t even stay faithful to a few simple summer goals, how in the world can I expect my children to learn responsibility? If they follow my example they’re going to end up complete flakes and failures.
But in the midst of that moment, with tears streaming down my cheeks, the Lord gently reminded me that despite my imperfections and failures, it is never too late to start again. The Lord so sweetly reminded me that each new day offers new mercies, and the opportunity to start over. It is never too late to begin again.
Sometimes as moms we think that we have to be perfect for our kids. We think that if we fail, then we will let down our kids. Sometimes we might try to hide from our shortcomings. But our kids don’t need us to be perfect. That’s Jesus’ job. He’s perfect so we don’t have to be.
What our kids need to see us do is admit our blunders and our failures, turn from them, and then get up and try again. The only definitive failure for us as parents is the refusal to try again.
So, there are a few more days of summer left before the new school year begins. I am going to make the most of these days, because it’s never too late to start over…today or any day.
She's awesome, right?! Thank you, Melanie, for your transparency, vulnerability, and wisdom. What a sweet reminder it's never too late to start over. As a new parent, sometimes I feel like I have to be the perfect example for Brighten, so when I inevitably fail, I feel the weight of the world. This has been a good reminder for my soul - God's mercies are new each day! If you would like to connect with Melanie, you can email her here, find her on Facebook, or Instagram.