A Longing Fulfilled

A beaming face. A glowing smile.
There is, perhaps, no greater joy for a parent than to witness the joy of one’s child. I was blessed with this joy yesterday.
My little brainiac, my redheaded fact monger, my pride and joy, came in third in the region’s math field day competition. Here he is, sporting his new jewelry. Stunning, eh?
The thing is, math is not Teddy’s strength. He loves history and social studies. Verbal facts and concepts are his thing. When he was in the second grade, we used Census data as a behavioral reinforcer for him. Yes, that’s right. At age eight he could tell you the population and racial breakdown of every county in West Virginia. When he misbehaved, we took away his data. It devastated him.
I guess, that is a kind of math. Statistics anyway. He understood proportions and ratios long before I did (yes, I’m still working on it. Details escape me.). But slow meticulous computations tend to frustrate him. So many times I have recited over and over, “In math there is only one right answer, so you have to check over and over your work.” This type of checking and rechecking is despised by my eleven year old.
So he really had to work hard to prepare for this competition. And in the process, he has grown a bit as a person. I have watched over the last several weeks as he invests and disciplines himself in preparation for this competition. I have watched as confidence and friendships grew during tutoring sessions. And I marvel at the ways God chooses to shape his little people.
Yesterday morning, before he left for school, our family gathered around him and prayed over him. We prayed that above all, he would bring God glory. My son, who normally shies away from such sentimentalities, stood tall and proud within that circle of prayer. My heart swelled. For other boys, the soccer field is their battleground. For some, it’s the basketball court or the baseball diamond. For my Teddy Bear, the academic realm is his oyster.
Unfortunately, our society has very few systems in place to recognize these little guys and girls who excel at academia. They tend to get overlooked in all the sport stars. But not yesterday. Yesterday was one of their shining moments. The joy on Teddy’s face as his name was called will stay with me a long, long time.
Last night, as I tucked him in, he even let me snuggle with him a little. I put my face close to his and as our foreheads touched, I told him how proud I am of him. Not just because of math field day, but because of so many other wonderful things about him. And he just smiled and let me hold him. We must have stayed that way for at least four minutes before he started blowing spit bubbles between his lips and grossed me out.
Sigh. There’s always next year.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
.–Proverbs 13:12 (niv)


  1. says

    I loved reading your post today. All I knew growing up was the sport world. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot through sports, but I think there is so much more out there to offer our kids. I loved reading about Teddy’s adventure in the academia world! Was this competition something he chose to be a part of, despite it not being “his thing”? Either way, congratulations on Third place, Teddy! Your hard work paid off! Oh how I hope to be able to pray with my kids like you do now… doesn’t come easy in my family. Thanks for the example.

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