Envy

 Last year my son was in 5th grade. It was a really rough year for him. His class had a lot of violence going on. Fights in the classroom. Fights in the lunchroom. Fights on the playground. I’ve had two other kids go through 5th grade at the same school and they did not have this problem. It seemed to be This Class and This School Year that was having a bad time. The only problem was, all these kids from 5th grade were going to go up to Middle School with my son the next school year and take their problems right along with them. My son was depressed and withdrawn the entire 5th grade school year and we did not see how Middle School was going to help things improve. 

So, here comes the new and improved government Child Tax Credit.  It’s unexpected money. We’ve been living without it, we can continue to live without it. We decided to use a bulk of this money to send our son to a small Christian Private School that is close to our neighborhood, but not IN the neighborhood. 

It has been a night and day difference for him. His academic standards have raised significantly and he is rising to the challenge. He is in a small classroom with kids who behave and are friendly and accept him with all his quirkiness. He has started doing sports and is well liked at the school and has become a happy kid. We are delighted that he is at this new school.

Having him at this new school has opened up a whole new can of worms though. School envy. Discontent. This longing to just pack up ALL my kids and send them to THIS school where they can be safe, happy, well-cared for and they can just thrive in a healthy environment. Apparently though, these kinds of learning environments are only for kids whose parents make a certain amount of money. You can see how it’s really easy to fall into a bad state of mind over this. 

Today I had to stop and take a moment to be thankful for our current income level. It is sufficient to clothe and feed us, give us a home to live in, cars to drive. We even squeeze in low-budget family vacations. If we made more money we probably wouldn’t live where we are. And our location has given us the opportunity to serve people around us in a meaningful way. I know that my kids have been a positive addition to the schools and classrooms that they are in. I know that not having excess money has made us a lot more ready and willing to help others who are living at even lower levels, because we understand where they are coming from. We’ve been there. 

As always, it comes back to faith. Do I have faith that God will provide what each of my children needs? This year he has provided a way for my 6th grader to be in an awesome environment where he is thriving. My 8th grader chose to homeschool and I have been very impressed at his level of self-discipline and scholarship. He’s also been given an opportunity to have an internship at our local Chilren’s Museum which is a perfect fit for his interests and abilities. Each one of my elementary kids have been put in a place where they are getting what they need and are happy. My highschoolers are thriving Despite all the challenges their school is facing. I can’t complain. 

Falling into envy is really easy when I’m not staying in the NOW. When I forget to take stock and be thankful for what I have today. When I get so focused on future worries that I forget that I have everything I need, today. When I spend my time looking at what other people have instead of realizing that, today, I have everything I need. So, here’s to casting off envy and walking forward in a spirit of thankfulness and faith. 

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