though each had work assigned
that was not getting accomplished while they criticized.
Said one to the other,
"You are never going to finish your work or get ahead,
because you are behind in your readers,
and I know you are behind where you should be in school."
The instructor was brought into the conversation
by the tears of the one who felt stupid.
The assignments accomplished so far by the 'behind' one
were exactly what the child had been given to do by the instructor.
More was not expected, but the child was ashamed
when compared to someone else's standard.
The one doing the mocking was actually two years behind in math,
but had not been made aware of that,
because the instructor knew the diagnosis,
and was happy enough to see progress, even if it was slow.
But the mocking was mean, and wasn't going to be tolerated.
"If you want to make others feel like they are stupid and less
because of something that is not your business to evaluate,
you ought to know that you are two years behind in your math,
and you have no business judging the shortcomings of those
who are doing exactly as I told them.
Your business is to encourage and love one another,
not to tear each other down."
The instructor heard a genuine apology a few minutes later --
not the one that had been forced
before the child understood its own failure.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said something so hypocritical."
How often we gloat over our 'accomplishments' which are natural abilities,
not knowing how far behind we are in areas others sail through.
We begin to look around, thinking we're ahead of the game,
and we discourage those who are doing their best
at the task assigned to them
by the One who knows their needs and abilities.
He may be quite happy with them,
even knowing their grade placement and their age.
And He may be quietly keeping us from knowing how far we fall short,
since we are progressing toward His goals for us --
even if the tasks are far below our grade placement and age averages.
How much better for both if they had been merciful to each other,
encouraging each other and rejoicing over the good.
Comparing ourselves against each other is no way to improve.
Our Teacher, our Helper, our Father
knows our needs, our shortcomings, our progress
(even if it looks like a shortfall to others).
Our eyes should be toward Him for our assignments.
For our correction.
For our promotion.
He knows better than we do -- and better than our fellow students --
where we are at in His estimation.
He's seen our test scores.
He sees the areas of brilliance,
even while He works to improve where we appear to be fools.
He hears the good reasoning we used to come to a wrong conclusion,
and has a plan for how to train our minds to calculate better.
He knows the calculating was done in our heads,
and it was a complicated problem,
and we don't have the skills to jot down our thoughts
because our hands need training and strengthening.
And our math will improve with our handwriting.
Practice this 'a' again.
He sees how we calculate with nearly perfect outcomes,
but don't understand what any of it means --
and He's concerned that our high scores don't reflect real knowledge,
just memorized formulas.
He knows we're behind because we took a slower path,
because there were others who needed help, too,
and our pace was matched to theirs.
And He knows that once the basics are mastered, we're going to excel.
So He isn't troubled by our grade level,
though we are now troubled by someone else's chiding.
For we do not make bold to rank or to compare ourselves
with certain of those commending themselves,
but they, among themselves measuring themselves,
and comparing themselves with themselves, are not wise,
and we in regard to the unmeasured things will not boast ourselves,
but after the measure of the line
that the God of measure did appoint to us--to reach even unto you;
...not boasting of the things not measured,
in other men's labors,
and having hope--your faith increasing--in you to be enlarged,
according to our line--into abundance,
...and he who is boasting--in the Lord let him boast;
for not he who is commending himself is approved,
but he whom the Lord doth commend.
2 Corinthians 10:12 -18
Another child, who speeds through the work assigned
with time to spare every day, came and said,
"She is having trouble with math. Would it be alright if I helped?"
"Why, yes. Yes, it would. And I am so glad you would like to."