Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Altar or the Door

Sometimes a song really grabs hold of me. It can be because I love the music or the words or oftentimes because it takes on meaning for me as I realize a desire of my heart or a sinful condition that needs to change. When I'm interacting with a song in this way, I often play it over and over, singing right along. There's a song on my ipod right now from Casting Crowns new CD, the title song from The Altar and the Door, that I cannot play without joining in--loudly. The combination of the catchy tune and the heartfelt lyrics get me every time.
Lord, this time I'll make it right, here at the altar I lay my life
Your kingdom come but my will was done, my heart is broken as I...

Cry-ai-y . . . . like so many times before
It is at this point that I tend to get a little carried away. Kyle has had to break in more than once--loudly--to be heard over my own singing and the music in my ears I'm jamming to, "Mommy stop singing that song!!!"

Mark Hall explains the genesis of this project on their official site: “When we’re at the altar, everything makes sense,. We know what we’re supposed to do. We know how we’re supposed to live. Everything’s black and white. But somewhere between the altar and the door, when we leave and go out into our lives, it all leaks out, and everything gets gray again. The Christian life is the journey between the altar and door, trying to get the things you’ve got in your head, into your hands, feet, into your life. The Altar and The Door is all about the journey--the realization on the journey, the struggles and the victory of seeing it as possible.”

Yesterday as I picked up Kyle from preschool, I had to listen to some feedback from his teacher concerning his journey. He is not listening to his teachers, not following directions, and not even striving to do so. It was a little bit discouraging, but a friend of mine wisely reminded me that there is probably nothing new under the sun for these women who have been running this preschool for ten years.

An hour later I had my fall conference scheduled with Amanda's teacher. Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how it was going to go. I had received her report card on Friday and was pleased with how she was doing. When I sat down her teacher asked me if there were any surprises there. I told her that it all seemed to be accurate. Amanda had joined us and her teacher asked her opinion about her marks for that period. Amanda said that she was surprised she didn't do worse in math. "In math?" her teacher asked. "What do you mean? You're brilliant, don't you know that?" Amanda hesitated and was a little embarrassed. She's always been good at math, but because of our failure to really commit those multiplication facts to memory, she's beginning to feel a disconnect in applying what she knows. So we're committed to get that right.

The second issue that has been ongoing in Amanda's school career is her (in)ability to control her talking. This manifests in social talking when she's supposed to be working (I don't know where she gets this problem), and it also emerges as an overly excited learning participant who shouts out answers and wants to interact with the teacher in what is supposed to be an instructive segment of class. The first week or two she struggled and her teacher asked her if she thought she needed have a behavior chart (as she has had to do at some point in each of the last three years in school). Amanda told her that she wanted to try to do it on her own. Her teacher told both of us that she has been pleased at Amanda's effort.

Just like me singing at the top of my lungs to somehow force the words of the song into my heart and life, hearing those words from her teacher was such an encouragement to Amanda that victory is possible. I'm proud that she's been able to take the desire of her heart--to be more self-controlled--and put it into practice.

Somehow we need to convince Kyle that he does have the desire to listen and obey and that it will be beneficial to do so.
So I'll be reminding him that he needs to listen, and if he doesn't bow at the altar of obedience, his teachers might be showing him the door.


dad said...

Amanda brillant in math. Acorns continue to fall close to the trees - Pappaw (her greatgranfather), her Pops, her Mother. Tell her I am proud, but tell her not to be too much like her Pops and just master the theory (tell her work all the problems and learn all the facts).
As for Kyle, all I wantd to do until 3rd grade was play Cowboys and Indians.

Dianne said...

i wondered how that CD was - thanks for the review .. . and sweet AManda story as well :) Kyle will be coming right along, no doubt!

Katrina said...

First of all, LOVE that CD, and the song. And I often get out of hand with my car-singing, though Logan's still to young to ask me to stop. :)

So glad your conference with Amanda's teacher went well. I, too, am proud of her for working on her "enthusiasm" this year. It's so neat to see our kids growing and maturing, learning, becoming self-motivated. Now we just have to work on those younger ones. :) Ha!