Over-quoted bible passages…

Are, I think, usually over-quoted because they are fantastic. There’s always the temptation to go all hipster and find an obscure passage to fall in love with so you can be all ‘I dug Ezra 8:21 before it was cool’, I suppose, but (sigh) 1 Corinthians 13;4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

It is just the best. BEST. I read this passage at a funeral two years ago, and it would have been equally appropriate to use at my wedding 13 years ago (except I didn’t because ugh, bible and religion).

I’m finding this verse particularly pertinent at this stage of my life, because GOD HELP ME PARENTING IS HARD. Wonderful and great and all that stuff but hard, too. Hard as in lay your head down on the kitchen bench in the middle of a conversation and close your eyes, or pray, or use the worlds worst swear words to yourself for a minute, hard.

Every year has it’s ups and downs, of course. This year has been…tricky. My eldest son was diagnosed with hearing loss a few months ago and now has hearing aids. Which was a shock, of course, but now I get to yell ‘PUT YOUR HEARING AIDS IN, GRANDAD’ a lot, which is fun and give the whole thing a bit of a comedic upswing.

But the main challenge for me at this stage is Maths and my Anxious Child. And the patient and kind love that I have to show to him, and, in turn, the 9 year old Eva.

Backstory; my 9 year old first manifested OCD at the age of 5*. This year we have discovered that he also has high anxiety. Which we kind of knew but an actual diagnosis makes it a bit more real. So, OCD and anxiety. You can imagine. Or you can’t, which is good. Not imagining how hard anxiety and OCD are packaged into a 9 year old boy is good. Because it’s really shit and a bit heart breaking.

And you add to that Maths.

Archie is not particularly bad at maths. In fact his recent grade three tests show that he is above his grade level. But that doesn’t mean that any wrong question isn’t greeted with tears and trauma and end-of-the-world apocalyptic really big feelings, which also tend to be loud and angry. When he doesn’t understand something, he really doesn’t understand something. And his brain locks down and he just can’t take the new ideas on board. I thinks it’s the finality and the injustice of it all. ‘But I went through all the steps properly! How can this be wrong?’

Which is exactly what happened to 9 year old Eva when she was trying to learn maths (I went to third person. Is that weird?)

Because when I was a child (and now), I really didn’t understand maths. And it scared me and challenged me. So people decided that I was difficult, and part of our family lore is that I made such a fuss about doing maths in grade three that the teacher had to stop teaching it to the whole class. Because of me.

This is a story that is still told, by the way.

And I was so resistant and stubborn that everyone gave up trying. This is what I’m told.

Did I mention I was nine?

So when my Archie gets so upset about the fact that he can’t do that maths that he cries and yells and blames me and everything is JUST. THE. WORST, I remember…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

And I say to him…

I’m not going to give up on you. I will stay with you in the tricky bits, and the messy bits, and through the angry and the yelling and the sad. Because I love you, and I understand that you don’t always know how to behave. And you don’t know why you feel the things that you feel, and sometimes these things make you angry. But I will be here, and I will try to be your stillness, and when you are ready then we will keep going. Together.

And I like to think that God feels this way about us. Patient, kind and there when we are ready.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Never giving up, even though we yell at the problems and sulk and be our very-most-not-best selves much more often than we would like to admit. Reminding us that, with a sense of perspective, the problem that we are raging it is probably not that huge on a scale of one to eternity, even if it seems pretty damn insurmountable right now.

Although maths does, and always will, suck and I will be having a strongly worded conversation with God about it one day.

Edited to add; I’m studying a course at the moment, and coincidentally we are looking at Paul this week, with a focus on this passage. As it turns out, Paul was actually giving the Corinthians a bit of a schooling, and essentially telling them that they were the opposite of all the shiny and nice things in the passage. Paul being his usual know it all self takes the gloss off it a bit for me, I must say 😉

*the same age as I first developed OCD, incidentally. Which isn’t really related but is so completely related because I want so hard to ‘get it right’ with him.

This has nothing to do with parenting or maths but I took it here at home last month and it's pretty.

This has nothing to do with parenting or maths but I took it here at home last month and it’s pretty.

10 thoughts on “Over-quoted bible passages…

  1. It’s my professional experience ‘the maths’ is a source of pride and ownership for students who are allowed to succeed in it no matter what their cognitive challenges might be. It’s also my experience that few things in life cause so much harm, not just to these students who face what seem to be such monumental difficulties others don’t and view themselves negatively for this discrepancy, but the relationships they have with others… most notably parents… when they are not allowed to succeed.

    Everyone can do math. Everyone without significant brain damage can understand and learn to show any math concept, manipulate and connect concepts to real world effect, and find themselves a map to this undiscovered territory. It’s also nice to have a area on the report card under mathematics that is always an A+. This opens many educational doors.

    I know it sounds like I’m selling something but I’m really not. All I know is that the methods used to teach math mostly suck and they suck even more for students who are the outliers to the bell curve… at either end.

    The trick is finding the access points, the means to connect the student with the concepts and apply them successfully. And if the student can count their fingers to five, jump count by twos and threes and fives, then they can do anything in math.


    And parents can sit back in wonderment at just how brilliant their children (and anyone who has had difficulty in math) really are and never have to be put in the position of having to torture themselves and their kids trying so hard and with such good intentions ineffectively teaching these kids at home. Home should be a safe place, a place of sanctuary and support, and not a place where time spent between parents and children has to be over something like this. If I can help, drop me an email. As I said, I’m not selling anything and you don’t have to buy anything; I truly hate seeing people diss math as if it is the problem. It isn’t; it’s the ticket to feel smart – a fantastic opportunity to introduce people to the highest levels of academic success.

    • There is one amazing maths teacher at the boy’s school- and I meet with him every Friday afternoon so he can teach me the concepts so that I can, in turn, teach Jasper (who it seems is working three years behind his grade level). And I use that knowledge to help Archie too. But I’m just staying one step ahead to try and help my kids. Which does suck. I wonder if early failure at maths is the reason that I’ve always thought I’m a bit stupid?
      Thanks for your offer- I will absolutely be emailing you.

  2. Beautiful! My favorite passage, too. I’ve had six kids, eleven grandkids, two marriages. There’s a lot of life wrapped around those stats. Read that passage at both my weddings. Obviously, too often, I’ve failed at its aspirations. A pastor/friend told me once that what Paul was writing about (apparently move clear in Greek) was not so much a love-target for us to aim at (although a wonderful target it is!) but a description of God’s love for us. As we try—imperfectly, often tragically—to love, God is loving us perfectly through our attempt.

  3. I remember you in grade 7 reading Douglas Adams under the table in the maths classroom. I also remember Mr Kilpatrick noticing, smirking to himself and asking you which was your favourite book. You were already so cool that even the school’s scariest teacher didn’t hassle you during the world’s scariest class.

    Lovely bible passage thing.

    • I remember liking him. He would give me back my tests with 3/25 on them and then we would talk about Eccentrica Gallumbits the triple breasted whore of Eroticon Six.
      Good times 😉

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