Today is Thursday. Which means its Daniel’s turn to wash the dishes. Which means I go into the kitchen after he tells me he’s done, to check his work. And show him which ones aren’t clean yet. And he washes them again. And tells me he’s done again. And I check his work again and show him where there are still spots that aren’t clean. After about 3 washings the dishes are mostly clean. And he asks if he can change his clothes because he’s gotten himself all wet in the process.
This morning as Daniel was washing the breakfast dishes, Charly asked me, “Do you think it’s worth it—giving him a day to wash the dishes?” “I don’t know,” I sighed. “I can get really frustrated with him and how he’s doing his work. It seems like something he should be able to do. But he has so many problems with it. It’s the same with making his bed. I have to keep telling him what step is next. I don’t want to do it for him. But he seems so clueless sometimes. I really want him to learn how to do these things on his own and to learn how to look how to do a good job.”
How to be patient as I help him learn—whether its lessons in housework or with schoolwork—when it takes a lot of repetition. This has been a big struggle for me recently.
On Tuesday night, Jordan, David, Daniel and I went outside after dinner to play badminton. David came home early to get started on his Chinese school 2nd grade homework. And Jordan and I tried to see how many times we could hit the birdie back and forth as the sky turned darker and it got more challenging. Daniel watched us and practiced trying to hit his own birdie by himself.
Then a neighbor grandmother appeared and asked Daniel if he wanted to do some exercises with her. They started by touching their toes. And he was having trouble keeping his legs straight. Another neighbor showed up and joined in some of the exercises. Jordan and I decided to stop playing badminton and she asked if I wanted to “study” with the grandmother too. We ended up getting an intro class in kungfu.
At the end of the class, the grandmother told us she could teach us if we were interested—she has a few other students—and she doesn’t take any money. So last night after dinner, Jordan and I joined kungfu grandmother outside for our 2nd class.
And during the class, I thought about how much I need repetition. I needed to keep my eyes on the teacher or on Jordan and then keep looking back at my arms and legs to see if I had the right position. I dreaded the moments when our teacher turned around to see if we could do a sequence on our own, and I hadn’t really “gotten” it yet. I needed lots of repetition, following the master, imitating her moves until they became my own.
And in life—how much repetition I so often need to really “get” what God is trying to teach me.
How many times have I told God, “I’m done”—like Daniel with the dishes— and He says, “No, not yet. There’s still more work to be done here.”
Repetition. God, help me to really “get” those lessons you are teaching me. And help me to be patient with all the repetition that Daniel needs. To be patient with him as You are patient with me.