Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I do this thing.  It's always been a secret...until this year when paint has been so much a part of my life...and I got caught.

I paint my prayers on my walls.

For all that this screen is my favorite form of communication, I am a pretty tangible person.  I like to get ACTUAL letters because it means that the person that wrote to me actually touched the paper.  I love things that people touched, wore, used in someway, because it gives me a hand to hold long after the person has gone, whether it be across the street or on into eternity.  I'm a toucher...always have been...this is just an interesting quirk of the same weird-touchie-aspect.

So under every wall I've ever painted (alone, because again, like fight club, we don't talk about it) there are names of people that I love. But then, I paint over the names, because like everyone else, I painted the wall for a reason...fashion, baby.  But I still can tell you where certain people's names are. When I'm missing those people I still touch their names and pray about them.

A few months ago, a friend was helping me paint one of the many walls I've painted this year and I knew her well enough to share my quirk.  Pretty soon, the kids (hers, mine already knew) were involved...and then another friend, and her kids.  Turns out, they had prayers too.  Things that hurt so much that they couldn't share exactly what was going on...but they had names...so I handed them each a brush and a little pot of paint...and everybody got a turn.

And then time went on.  I painted over the names.  They are still there...but underneath because that's what you do, right?

Yesterday, one of my children brought one of the other little girls on the street over.  My Bear wanted me to help her friend with the STAAR test studying.  OY!!  What do I know about STAAR testing other than every kid on the street worries and hurts because of them?  Seriously, I remember testing as a kid...it was kinda fun...I don't remember studying...it just was what it was...a couple of days of number 2 pencils and booklets and sitting in the gym (those were the fun ones...way too many people) or the classroom not doing homework.  WOO HOO!

Except, that's not what I'm hearing from these kids.  Realize these are my neighbors, my kid's friends...random children who pass through my house, hurting and wanting help with these tests.  Actually no, not really wanting help...actually wanting to know that this test will not be what defines them.  This test won't be what measures their worth in the world.

Like I said, I don't know anything about these tests.  Homeschoolers don't have to take them at this time in history in this state.  We may have to in the future, but not right now.

But I do know something these kids need to know.  NO TEST can define you.  Sure, we can measure what you've learned in the last week or so.  Some of them may be able to tell if you are a good test taker or if you are able to read at some level or if you are good memorizer.  We can measure some stuff that you know TODAY.  But what exactly does that matter for your worth?  See, the thing is, tomorrow you may learn something more and you may very well be even smarter than you are today.  Sometime in the future, something might happen that makes you forget this stuff that you absolutely know and you might have to really think about it to draw it back out of your mind...(Hey mothers...let's have a HOO RAH for the stupefying factors of child birth and infant rearing, huh?)

This is a moment.

It doesn't define who you are.

You still get to choose who you will be.

Did you hear me?  I won't care if you remembered the ROCK CYCLE tomorrow.  I'd forgotten there was a rock cycle until yesterday.  You matter, rock cycle or not.

You will be a beautiful amalgamation of joy, and intelligence, and talents, and humor, and kindness, and courage and maybe pain.  But let's not have an arbitrary test on arbitrary facts that someone has decided that you REALLY need to know today cause you pain.  That stuff REALLY doesn't matter and anyone who says it does needs to spend an hour in the company of a child.

So I'm outing myself.  I'm painting on my wall again...and this time, I don't think I'm going to paint over it.  I'm praying for little souls today.  Not tests.  Not that they do well.

I'm praying that they realize that no matter how they do...THEY MATTER.  And I'm praying for my teacher friends who have to administer these tests because I know that THEY know what I'm saying.  These tests aren't coming from teachers who love our kids and teach them and struggle with them and triumph with them over every skill taught.  These tests are from much too far away to ACTUALLY matter.

When the psalmist said,
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are WONDERFUL, I know that full well. 
He didn't mean, "Wonderful until you go and screw it up with that STAAR Test."

I'm just sayin...

See you around.

P.S.  Let me know if you need a brush and a pot of paint...

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