I’d like to talk to my kid who didn’t get any awards at the banquet this year. I want to address the one who didn’t hear her name called.
To my child,
School has never come easily for you, and you have to struggle through every single word of spelling homework. Looking to the list four to five times for each word, laying eyes on each letter and carrying it in your mind, through your muscles, and onto your paper. Assignments that take other children ten minutes require a hour at the dinner table for you.
You have to work hard for every grade, and sometimes, if you’re honest, you give up and wall off occasionally because you’re tired, mad, or frustrated. You leave your homework at school on purpose to avoid a two-hour homework session. You want it to come easily to you like it does for other students. Right or wrong, for better or for worse.
I will never, ever excuse that behavior but I do understand it a little. It ticks me off a lot (you’ve noticed, I’m sure!), but I can see behind it, too.
Sometimes you might wonder what it’s going to take to get one of those pieces of card stock or a shiny new plaque.
But I have a little secret for you.
Hard work is its own reward.
If you will work hard for every single assignment and bust it to learn every concept, you’ll have more than a dusty award taking up crate space in your garage when you’re 35.
You’ll have a lot of grit and perseverance to your name.
You’ll know how to study. You’ll know how to work for something you want. Hopefully, you’ll know how to call on the Lord for help with things that seem beyond your ability and help not to quit when it’s tough.
That stuff will serve you even better than that award would have.
(At this point, I’d also like to say something to my kids who did win awards. Your hard work deserves to be seen and celebrated too! We honor you for hard work that is measurable.)
But today, I want to notice the hard work that is immeasurable in this case and celebrate that as well.
Kid, I’m proud of the person you are on your way to becoming and the tenacity you’ve shown in the past few months. You’ve overcome a lot of obstacles, and the ones in your way don’t stand a chance if you don’t give in.
I’m proud of the attitude you took when we told you some tough news this week. With a deep sigh, you said a really challenging situation was a chance to have a new beginning and make new friends. Most kids wouldn’t have handled that with the grace and poise you showed. You didn’t get angry or claim it was unfair. You just resolved to make the best of it.
There’s no award for that kind of thing, but if there was, you’d surely get it. A good attitude is its own reward.
Maybe someday you’ll read this and reflect on the struggles you faced in school. I hope you find that what I wrote here has come to pass. Hard work and good attitudes are their own reward.
But the best reward is one we can ALL receive: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The way we serve God and people is with the hard work of obedience and a good attitude.
So you should be all set.
All my love,