…and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1

The new school year is here!  During the weeks leading up to this one I spent many days knee deep in preparing my room and my lessons for my new “middle lovelies.”

I discovered many things in these past few weeks: the books we will read are much longer, the math is much harder, and all the spelling words have more than 5 letters!  I won’t have to sharpen pencils, apply Band-Aids, or identify finger print shaped mystery stains on my clothes.  I probably won’t sing ten times a day or tie anybody’s shoes and it’s a pretty good guess I won’t be swarmed with hugs at the beginning of the day or after recess.

I realized there are a lot of first grade things I’ll miss but as I roamed around my new room, I got excited about the students who will be sitting in those much taller chairs.  I got excited about unraveling the beauty of the Old and New Testaments instead of just teaching the difference between the two.  I got excited about the chapter books and novels we will read and the even bigger capacity for loving and understanding Christ they will bring each day.  The list of tradeoffs is huge and I was feeling very blessed and excited about my new opportunity until I saw that book!

It’s blue, not too large, paperback, and seemingly harmless…but when I pulled it off the shelf I nearly broke into a cold sweat!  It’s that book you either love or hate…nothing in the middle.  Its worth, value, and relevance is a topic of huge debate in the education world...again no middle ground; folks either think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread of an exercise in ancient drudgery.

What’s the book, you ask? It’s the cursive handwriting book!  As I thumbed through the book my heart rate went up immediately as I admired the perfectly formed strokes, loops, and lines.  I plunked into my chair feeling completely defeated.  I learned to write in cursive 40 years ago and I write everything in cursive. I never print but my cursive looks nothing like what I saw between the covers of that blue book.

I of course did what I often do when faced with something I’d rather pout about than tackle…I buried it on the bottom of a pile so I couldn’t see it! As you might imagine, that never works so I’ve been boppin around the past couple days with the thought of that book bugging me like a little rock in my shoe.

After way too long (when am I ever gonna learn?) I took it to prayer.  I honestly began the prayer with the phrase, “Ok Jesus, you’re really gonna think I’m a nut but teaching cursive is really buggin me, help me make sense of it please!”  Just because he could, he let me stew on it a bit longer and then like a light in the fog, this verse came to mind.

It isn’t about loops and swirls and lines at all! It’s about running the whole race with perseverance.  In my mind I was running on all the flat spots thinking about the things I would enjoy and be a natural at and when I came to a hill I needed to run up I just plopped down and stopped.

It doesn’t matter if I think cursive is crucial to a 12-year-old's development and education or not, that isn’t the issue.  The issue is, I’ve got something to do that is going to require time, patience, effort, and a stubborn change of habit.  It is part of the race that is before me.  I was boldly reminded that we are constantly challenged to change and grow and do what is required humbly and obediently with a loving heart; even teach cursive to a room full of pre-adolescents who would probably rather do almost anything else!

I should let you know that when I returned to the blue book buried on the bottom of the pile, I realized it is a Catholic handwriting book and the book is filled with beautiful scripture, Church teaching, and Gospel lessons. (He’s such a show off sometimes!) I have plans to return to my desk this week with a freshly sharpened pencil and begin learning all over again and you can bet your boots I’ll begin with a prayer and politely point out to God that I don’t enjoy running up hill! I don’t think he’ll care though…I should be old enough to realize that the greatest blessings are always at the end of a tough race.

A Seed To Plant: In honor of my new adventure, write your favorite scripture verse in your best cursive handwriting. (google it if you can’t remember how …I did!)

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2014, Sheri Wohlfert