She said he is doing incredibly well.
In all subjects, he is at or above grade level. He is kind and friendly to everyone. He is respectful and focused. My boy earned all E's in citizenship, despite the fact that there is the little problem of him finishing his work quickly and distracting the rest of his table by being an incessant chatterbox. We all agreed that he would try to work on it.
I apologized on account of all the heredity in that little problem. I got the same criticism growing up. So did my mother and her mother before her. His teacher said that while he talks a lot, it hasn't reached a level of being a serious problem yet. She said she wished she had a dozen more just like him to which I replied that I didn't really need a dozen more at home. I promise you, one Garrett is plenty.
Then she gently began, "I need to talk to you about a sensitive issue."
My mind raced to a million terrible places in the following two seconds of silence. He stole something. He said a bad word. He called someone a horrible name. He forced a girl to kiss him on the playground. He said someone was too fat or too skinny or too ugly.
"He says God a lot," she started and, of course, being a pastor's wife, my first thought was that he had a problem with taking the Lord's name in vain. Except we are very serious about that in our home and I really didn't think that was it. She continued, "I mean...not...how do I put--"
And it dawned on me so I replied, "Oh, like, he talks about God?"
She nodded, red creeping up into her cheeks, "And it is offending some of the kids. So he can talk to me about God because I love it about him and he can write about it whenever he wants, but he needs to talk less about it with the other kids. It makes some of them uncomfortable."
I nodded, unsure of how to handle this with Garrett. I noticed that he had drawn up his legs and was suddenly extremely and uncharacteristically quiet. I put my arm around him and pulled him to me. His teacher started to ask him an unrelated question but he turned, fixed his green eyes on me and whispered, almost inaudibly, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
"Okay, Garrett," I said as I ran my fingers through his hair. I turned to look at his teacher. "See," I started, "my husband is a pastor. We spend a lot of time at church. I understand what you are saying and my husband and I certainly understand social norms and what is acceptable to talk about and when, but he is very passionate about God and he's six. So I'm not entirely sure what to do--"
"I'm not either," she interjected.
"--but we'll talk to him about it."
My husband and I do not have the spiritual gift of evangelism. I'd trade my administration gift any day for it, but it's simply not in me. That doesn't mean I'm not called to do it, but simply handing a VBS flier to another mom makes me sweat like I just finished a marathon. In Death Valley. In August. We've never told Garrett to continuously bring up God to his friends. In fact, we encourage him to live and lead by example. I knew when he was four that we were in for it. That's when he, rather forcefully, commanded his preschool class to be baptized (even though he hasn't been). He herded them over to the carpet and began pretending to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I apologized profusely that day, even though every adult in the building thought it was equal parts hilarious and adorable. Garrett would tell a tree that Jesus died on the cross for its sins if he thought the tree had ears. He wants people to know his Jesus. He is strangely spiritually sensitive for a boy of six. And, truly, very little of that has anything to do with us. We take him to church. We pray with him. We read him the Bible. And he takes that knowledge and discipline and he trusts in the Lord. He finds new strength. He soars high on wings like eagles.
And I do not want him to lose that passion.
I do not want him to conform but to be transformed.
He knows that if we keep quiet, the very stones will cry out.
So we rode home quietly and silent tears slid down my cheeks because this parenting thing is hard. Where is the balance between offense and passion? How do you teach it to a six-year-old without crushing his heart.
Then I shared with my husband. We prayed and I processed. Troy asked Garrett how his conference was and he replied, "I'm doing really well but I can't talk about God."
And I really wished he hadn't been sitting right there when she brought it up. We explained to him that he can talk about God with his teacher. He can write about Him. He can talk about Him all he wants to on the playground because the last we heard we had freedom of speech in this country. And, on the playground, the kids can run away if they want to. We told him he can't talk about God when his teacher is talking or when they are supposed to be discussing something else entirely because he needs to be respectful of her time. We told him how proud we are of him. And then we bought him a Happy Meal. Oh yes, we did.
As I sat in Bible study last night, sharing the details of the day and asking for prayer, it dawned on me. My kindergartner is my hero. He's ahead academically. He's nice to everyone. He's respectful. He's on fire for God and he's not afraid to show it. If only we could all be so successful.
I prayed for him almost the whole way to school and asked God to give him boldness and discernment to share his faith when appropriate. I am proud of that kid. I have no idea why God chose me to be his mother. None whatsoever. But I am so thankful--and so honored--that He did.