Over the course of the summer, I have enjoyed my 40 minutes of me-time in the morning. I'm plugged into my iPod and walking up and down every hill near our house. My three mile path looks a bit like a clover-leaf and while I'm not really getting anywhere, it's better than plodding away on a treadmill.
I have been pleased that my endurance has increased over the summer. My first trip out in June was only a two-and-a-half leaf clover - with me turning back with tired legs and achy hips. Now I'm up to a full four-leaf clover with a little extra oomph at the end which leads me to believe I need to find another hill!
One of my main motivations to roll out of bed each morning is the knowledge of how quickly my body can lose it's endurance. Slack off for a week and I'll be back to a lopsided clover. Of course, I'm also motivated by my weakness for chocolate. I figure if I get my walk in early, later on in the day when my sweet treat is whispering my name, maybe I won't feel so guilty! Maybe.
This endurance isn't something that comes easily or quickly. It requires me to push myself a bit, keep walking a little further and recognize the benefits of this workout ... even when I'm nearing the top of hill #4, my legs are tired and my heart is pounding. And my brain is contemplating turning around.
By keeping at it, I am succeeding in my efforts to build physical muscle.
In the same way, our kids have to keep at their new daily routine in order to build their school muscles. And it's going to take some real endurance.
We started school on Wednesday of last week and by the next day, the kids were wiped out. We call it Threshold Thursday ... the day of the week when the kids reach their limits and we teeter on the edge of some serious melt-downs.
Poor Ashley was suffering the worst.
Prior to our walk up to school to fetch the big kids, sweet Ashley had a full-blown sob/tantrum/fit. Something about socks, a peach and a band-aid. Pure misery. As I helped her pull herself together, her tired little eyes told me everything I needed to know. She was exhausted. Two days of kindergarten can really take it out of you!
Her state of despair continued off and on throughout the rest of the afternoon. And not to be out-fussed, the other kids joined in the fun. At one point, Ashley was weeping in her bed, Aaron was wailing in the living room and Norah was following me around the kitchen whining. Lydia did her part to add to the miserable state of our home with her own whimpering. Lovely.
Gratefully, this season of weakness doesn't last forever. I remember years past and the weeks of building up our endurance ... our school muscles. Each day the kids are getting stronger: able to pay attention longer, sit better, listen more attentively, participate more actively ... and come home happier.
Even as Mom I can't speed up this process. There is not scholastic steroid, that I know of. I can, however, encourage them to keep trekking and pray for my kiddos. I know that God is concerned even with these little challenges of growing up.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)
Maybe the bigger kids will achieve endurance in their school routine more quickly because their bodies and brains remember last year. But I have confidence that Ashley will build her own school muscles ... at least by Christmas break.