The Power of a Star

We are finally well underway in our 2008-2009 homeschool year.  This year Anna’s academic load has been ratcheted up quite a bit.  One of the things she is learning this year is to write using cursive handwriting.  For a girl with significant fine motor delays this is really hard .  She was really excited at first.  We began with a lowercase “a”, went on to lowercase “d”, and then we hit lowercase “g” and it was like hitting a very painful brick wall.  That loop was so difficult, her hand wouldn’t do what she wanted it to, why did she have to learn this anyway?

This is our third day working on the letter “g”.  After the first row, I asked her, “Which one do you think you did the best?  Draw a smiley face next to it.”  When she was done, I showed her which one I thought was the best and drew a star next to it.  You could see her body begin to relax and her face light up.  The next row was the same, except I gave one particularly good specimen two stars.  That was really exciting.  Her handwriting became smoother.  The loops seldom crossed at the line, but on the whole it was much more legible.  She asked if she could have a sticker for her folder if she did a good job on the rest of the page.  Of course she could, that’s what I bought them for.

It’s such a small thing.  It cost me nothing except the dollar or so that I paid for a book of stickers that will last me the rest of the year and the willingness to slow down, remember this is a process, and give the gift of encouragement along the way. 

We are not so different, she and I.  I need to slow down, I need to be reminded that this is a process–I am not yet a finished product, and the smallest amount of encouragement is like a salve to my soul.  Oh that I would turn my eyes from myself, my needs, my agenda, and give the gift to little hearts who are waiting to drink it up like rain to a dry and thirsty land.

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