Gideon loves to make us proud…
Not really. He loves to make us look stupid.
I know this happens to a lot of parents – you witness your children do something spectacular, or you teach them a new song or a joke or, even better, a Bible verse – and the minute you go to show off their trick to another, they clam up, play dumb, and completely leave you hanging, muttering one of those pathetic parental statements like “He’s usually very cooperative…”
It has been this way for us from the very beginning.
I went over and over the ABC’s with my son, trying to make sure he learned them by the same age my niece Abigail had…which was very early. She knew the entire song “Oklahoma” before her 2nd birthday! But Gideon would never, and I mean, never, sing them back to me. Not even the first three letters! I quit trying, deciding we would pick up the ABCs during his first year of school, that there are some things not worth my stress. And that surely by the time he was 16, he would know his ABCs. Right? Surely. (By the way, that was the same reasoning I used to stop worrying so much about his pacifier…he won’t still have it when he is 16! Right? Surely.) But then one day I walked up the stairs, pretty much shocked to hear him singing the entire song, letter by letter, as he played in his room. The booger was holding out on me, all along.
One of my greatest sources of pride in my son is that he knows the great old hymn “Be Thou my Vision” by heart and cherishes it as his favorite. In fact, our entire church sang it along with him on his 3rd birthday and I just about died on the spot from the pure sweetness of it. I’ve let him practice singing it twice on the microphone at church, secretly entertaining the notion that I might someday let him “perform” it for the congregation…
But as Gideon himself would say, “I change-ed my mind.”
The first time he practiced it on the microphone, he used his artistic authority to change the timeless words from “Be thou my vision” to “Be thou my trackhoe.” The next time he made it a little further along before changing the lyrics. “Be Thou my vision, o Lord of ABCs…”
So nevermind that singing-in-big-church idea….I have officially scrapped it.
I suppose as a pastor’s wife, I feel even more pressure to make sure my child is well-versed in the Scriptures and has an early working knowledge of Bible stories, theology, catechism, hymnity…on good days, my desire is rooted in him becoming a godly man; on bad days, my desire is to appear perfect in the eyes of the church, the community, and the world in general. But Gideon continues to make it his job to keep Mama humble and dependent on the Lord. Several times this Christmas season, in public (for example, in the middle of Hobby Lobby), young Gideon would notice a nativity scene and say the exact same thing, loudly, every time: “Hey Mama, that’s just like on that movie we saw!”…
As if we have not been over the story of Jesus’ birth a hundred times! I would look around to see who heard, smile/grimace, and literally restrain myself from making another of those pathetic parental statements: “His Papa is a preacher…he knows who Jesus is [insert nervous laughter here].”
But nervous laughter doesn’t begin to describe what I was doing the Wednesday night before Christmas, a momentous and sacred night when we had our church’s children, youth and adults all meet in the sanctuary to hear a reading of the Christmas story. I knew ahead of time that Chris would be calling the children to the front of the church to gather around him as he read aloud. What I didn’t know was that Gideon would not join the rest of the children at Chris’s feet, but would decide to sit right next to him on the stage, where everyone…everyone…could see him. Which also meant that I began to sweat before Chris even started reading. About halfway through the first chapter of the reading, Gideon laid down, flat on his back on the stage and yelled out, “I’m not sleepin’! I’m just layin’ down…”
And just last week, Gideon’s sweet Sunday School teacher had a funny story to share with me. She was going over the story of Jesus’ death, using the Big Picture Story Bible, the same book we use for family worship, and asked her little class of 3 year olds if they knew how Jesus died. Gideon knew the answer. He just knew it! “In a war!!!” he proudly proclaimed…
I’m sorry, what? A war? 1. I had no idea he even knew the word “war.” 2. We read the entire story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection the week before his class. A war! At least Ms. Megan knows us and that we’ve been over that story with Gideon; I didn’t have to make any lame excuses with her, or even laugh nervously.
All of the above would make me a little unsure about my decision to homeschool Gid the Kid, but I’ve known for awhile what I’m in for…
We were still living with my parents, and I was so eager to show off what Gideon and I had worked on when my Daddy came home from work. “Gideon, lets show Granddaddy how smart you are!” I said, pulling out his magnetic slate. I drew an “A” – “what is this letter?” I asked in my best teacher voice.
“B!” he yelled.
“B! Its a B!” he insisted. I cleared my throat.
“Gideon you know this letter – what is it?”
“What is it?” he parroted.
“Its an A.” I finally supplied.
“A!!!” he yelled. Well next I drew a “B” but it was not that impressive when he got it right, because he had said “B” on the last guess as well.
We moved on to “O”. “What is that?” I asked.
“A circle.” he said, completely throwing me off.
“Yes…that’s right, it is a circle…but what else is it?” I asked.
“What else is it?” he repeated.
“What letter is it?” I clarified.
“What letter is it?” he repeated.
“Its an O.” I said, deflated.
My Daddy finally piped up, grinning like a possum. “Boy, Gideon, you’re really smart!”
I gave him a withering look and said “Okay, let us try one more. He knows this one.” I drew an “S.”
“OKAY…what is this letter, Gideon?”
“Ummmmm…” he stalled, thinking hard, thinking hard, weighing all the possibilities, before shouting triumphantly, “…a worm!!!”
My Daddy hooted and I decided to put the slate away until next year. Which was at least a year ago, but I’m not sure if either of us are ready to conduct our hohumhomeschool quite yet. We might just go outside and play and dig in the dirt until Gideon is in the third grade.
Because when it comes to his schooling, I think Master Gideon will either be uncooperative…
my class clown…his explanation for most everything he does is “I was just tryin’ to make you laugh!”…
Or my prized student.
But probably?…all three.
(The featured photograph was captured by Lisa Cartwright at http://www.lisasportraitstudio.com. Gideon was being completely uncooperative…resulting in perhaps my favorite picture of all time.)