Jon Alex is in a Comprehensive Development Classroom (CDC), so his progress report looks different from a traditional report card.
The report runs several pages long and lists in detail all the goals and skills they are working on with him. Then each entry gets a numerical score to indicate whether progress is being made and, if so, to what degree.
I use to cringe when the report came out. I knew what it would say. I dreaded it to the point that I quit reading it. The entire process was just so depressing and demoralizing, seeing page after page of the same things mentioned over and over, along with notations of no progress being made.
Over the years, I’ve come to terms with it and can now accept it. As a parent of a profoundly developmentally- challenged child, I have come to terms with a lot of things over the years.
My son will never excel at athletics. He will never be a scholar. He will never paint a masterpiece, solve complex math problems, write a novel, play a musical instrument, or score the winning basket.
What I want for Jon Alex is for him to realize the love of Jesus Christ and then allow his life to be a mirror that reflects that love to others and draws them to Christ.
In other words, just for his life to reflect God’s glory in every way and point them to Jesus.
That’s what matters most. That’s a life of true significance.
That’s the kind of life that changes the world.
And from the moment of his birth, I have seen God’s hand on his life, giving him a plan, a purpose, and a destiny that glorifies God.
Meanwhile, you and I still struggle. We think we have to earn something, achieve something, or accomplish something. We measure our success in life by the size of our paycheck or house, by our title or career, by what we accomplish, build, or master.
We compare our experiences to those of others on social media. We forget that when we are viewing social media, we are viewing that person’s highlight reel, and that may not accurately reflect real day-to-day life.
Be honest, have you ever compared your life to others you know, or went to school with, or grew up with, just to see just how you measure up on the world’s success scale?
We do the same thing in how we look and view our children.
As parents we tend to impose the same measures and standards on our children. We want them to excel, conquer, overcome, and master everything that comes their way. We fall headfirst into the comparison pit every time we do this.
Too often I see parents pushing their children because they are trying to re-live and re-write their own childhoods vicariously through them. It’s one of the major contributing factors in the special needs community causing our epidemic of vacant dads.
But if we are parenting biblically, the most important lesson, the most significant accomplishment our children can master, is to let their lives reflect the glory of Christ.
That should be the gold standard of how effective we have been at parenting.
When people proudly boast to me that their child is in the gifted program, I always reply with, “My son is the gift.”
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Are you measuring your effectiveness in parenting and the accomplishments of your children the way God would measure success?
By Jeff Davidson
Husband to Becky
Father of one
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Rising Above Ministries
Author of No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches: a father, a son with special needs, and their journey with God