The other day I had my weekly tutoring session with a young lad at the church that I attend. After a few recent bouts with death I decided to cover all bases. I changed my diet and began exercising, buckled my seat belt and stopped texting while driving. I also joined the church that my wife belongs to.
Secretly, I believe there are infinite paths to God or the Divine or the Higgs-Boson God Particle—Guess the secret is out now . . . Oops.
What ever gets you on the path of peace and love is fine by me. I believe the Australian Aborigines hit the nail on the head with their belief that God resides in everything: every rock, tree, waterfall and McDonald’s Big Mac.
Anyway, I digress. Back to tutoring. The young lad I tutor has trouble with math. He also has an attention span of about five seconds and constantly looks away while rummaging around in his schoolbag. All he really wants to do is draw with his crayons and work his way through a book of mazes.
It is extremely hard to keep him focused. I think this is because he feels frustrated that simple tasks are hard for him. That may be part of it. Whatever the reason, after a few futile sessions I decided to try a new approach, as flash cards and reasoning did not appear to be working.
I figured I should go with what I do best.
Take a nap.
I get most of my great and even some of my not so great ideas in the horizontal position. And this time was no different. As soon as I lay down it hit me. Write a story. So last week I wrote a chapter of a children’s book starring Elijah and his love of drawing robots and figuring his way out of mazes.
He loved it and asked me to write chapters 2 through 5 for the next session. Well, I was elated and got right to work on the next few chapters. Of course I thought it was brilliant, or else I wouldn’t have written it. So the other night armed with new chapters of the adventures of Elijah I returned to church for our weekly tutoring session. Elijah read aloud through chapter 2 and did the math sprinkled throughout the chapter. I even made up rhymes for him like, “Which equals 2? See what you can do,” and “Find the 4. Can you find more?”
I was so proud of myself. And happy for and proud of Elijah, too. He was doing great.
And then came chapter three where Elijah and his friends were trapped in the maze with the robots. He immediately put this masterpiece down, fumbled around in his schoolbag and started taking things out; ignoring my gentle pleas: “Elijah read a little more . . . okay, why don’t we do some flash cards . . . what is that you have? Homework? Great, let’s do that. . . . No? Okay, we’ll do that instead. Oh, I see, you want to do some more drawing. Well that’s fine too . . . what are you going to do?”
Guess chapter 3 needs a little more work. And I need to find more ways to connect with Elijah.
I feel bad. I gave so little to Elijah and he gave me so much more in return: a great idea for a children’s book. Guess it really is true: if you give you shall receive. Amen.