Monday, June 11, 2007

Learning Joshua

I can hardly believe it. I think I did two things right in Joshua's eyes! Those of you who've been around here for awhile know my biggest struggle is with Joshua and I am constantly trying to learn the best ways to interact with and love him. Some days it seems my only goal is to maintain peaceful interaction with him, as I'm pretty consistently watching for and trying to avoid the things which tend to set him off.
So, as we're heading into summer and I want to be sure the kids are practicing their reading, I wondered how I was going to get Joshua to read without a fight. Each of the kids' teachers had sent home a summer reading list and when I read Joshua's list I saw a ray of hope. One of the suggested books is called 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents. As soon as I read that title I thought, Joshua would like this book! Then I remembered Elizabeth's bit of genius when she got the boys to help find things for her birthday party, and decided I'd try to emulate it.
When Joshua was within hearing distance I said to Brian, "There's a book on Joshua's summer reading list that I'm not so sure I want him to read." Of course Joshua's ears perked up, and Brian said, "Oh yea? What is it?" When I announced the book title, Joshua's eyes lit up and I knew my plan was working. He wanted to read it! In fact today he asked me if he could go to the library and get it. Without living with this boy, you can have no idea how significant of an event it is for him to ask to go and get the book himself! I wrote down the title and author for him and sent him off. Apparently it's a pretty popular book, because he had to get on a waiting list for it!
No worries, because he has something else to read while he waits. That's the subject of the other thing I did right today.
Some time ago, Joshua left his Bible at church, and we have been unable to find it. (One of the consequences of the blessing of everyone getting the same Bible in first grade!) We have enough Bibles around our house that it hasn't really been an issue, but today I decided I was going to get Joshua a new one. (And his old one will probably show up Sunday. Isn't that the way it usually goes?)
Anyway, when I was reminding Joshua this morning how important it is to me to have quiet time with God each morning (and, therefore, why I had asked him to not turn on the computer), I told him I was going to get him a new Bible today so he could read it each morning, too. His response didn't tell me whether he really wanted it or not, but when I was out this morning I went to Family Christian Store and found the Boy's Bible. I know God's Truth is the same for boys and girls, but this Bible has some special graphics and features to appeal to young boys, so I bought it.
When I got home with the Bible, Joshua was gone and soon the day's activities led us all on another course and I forgot to give Joshua his new Bible. Late this afternoon he came to me and asked, "Mom, did you get me a Bible today?" I thought I almost saw a glimmer of delight in his eyes when I said I did get it. I went out to the other room and brought it back, saying, "How's this?"
Joshua wrote his name and phone number inside the front cover and "Date I got this Bibel (that's how he spelled it!) 6-11-07." He's been carrying it around, calling it his new friend, and telling me over and again, "I like my Bible!" He even sat it on a pillow beside him at dinner tonight. I pray Joshua will grow in his enthusiasm to read and apply God's word! I wonder if he'll hold on to this Bible, and years from now will open the cover, look at the date, and thank God for the work He was doing in Joshua even at the age of nine.

Yes, bit by bit I think I'm learning my son. In a sly way - to get him excited about reading, and in a practical way - to celebrate the fact he's a boy. And as I learn to understand him, I love him more and more.
This evening I was making dinner and he went outside to play on the swing. The kitchen window looks out into the back yard and as Joshua was going out he said, "Look outside every now and then and see what I'm doing." So I did. Every couple of minutes I stopped what I was doing and just watched him maneuver the swing from side to side. (Going side to side is so much more fun than back and forth!) Standing there watching him, I prayed and thanked God for this precious boy. And I think each time I looked out at him, I loved him just a little more.

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Dakota's Mom said...

I love Joshua's attachment to his bibel! We could all learn from him!

Angela said...

Yeah Mom! It is so awesome when God gives us insight into our children. Some are easier to reach than others.

And I think each time I looked out at him, I loved him just a little more. That is precious!

Jenileigh said...

Oh Karen, reading this was precious. This is such a sweet story about your son. You are such a great mom and a sly smart one too! :) Thanks so much for sharing.