Mrs. Robinson, my sweet and attentive first grade teacher, called my Mother in for a parent-teacher conference and made a recommendation no parent wants to hear. "Maybe you should hold her back." The idea didn't sit well with my Mom. She pictured all of my little friends moving on to second grade and imagined the effect that would have on my little mind. The life-long stigma of being "less than" was not acceptable for her one and only daughter. She believed in my potential. She believed that, with hard work, I could catch up. Mom left the meeting on a mission to teach me to read at a second grade level by September when I would, she promised Mrs. Robinson, be reading sufficiently to advance to the next grade level.
That summer Mom became my devoted teacher. I can still remember the box of "Hooked on Phonics" materials full of cassettes, flash cards and the promise to improve my reading power. Slowly but surely I read through each book in the "I Can Read" series. Frog and Toad assisted in teaching pronunciation and recognizing letters. The Bernstein Bears came along to reinforce the difference between those pesky b's and p's.
By fall something extraordinary had happened. I could read at a second grade level. I reentered Grandview Elementary right on track, meeting the expected standards for my age group. Mrs. Robinson was surprised by my progress. But not Mom, she wasn't surprised in the least. She never doubted my potential for a moment.
The lessons Mom taught me that summer shaped my future and the rest of my life. More than how to read, Mom taught me to never accept the world's labels and never give up in defeat. With every phonics lesson and reading level mastered, Mom proved that I am capable and able if I am willing to work.
Most importantly, Mom taught me that God has filled me with exciting possibilities, great potential and a future. It may not be fulfilled with the snap of a finger or according to the world's time table but God will have His way in my life when I dedicate myself to Him. He will first teach me how to succeed for His glory as I practice obedience, pursue His truth and give Him my time. In the end, the outcome will be more satisfying than overcoming the great reading deficit of the first grade. When I diligently pursue the goodness and glory of God He will accomplish His great and perfect purpose for my life.
That lesson, the lesson that God has made me able, capable and worthy of His great plans, is a lesson no school can ever teach. At the tender age of seven I wouldn't have learned such a valuable and enduring truth had it not been for the devotion of my Mother. On this Mother's Day there are a million and one reasons to thank my beloved Mom. All of the blog posts in the world wouldn't give her enough honor and thanks so I'm choosing this one blessing. The blessing of knowing that I am beloved, valuable and destined for great things because I am a child of God and a child of a beautiful, truly amazing Mother.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.