Me: "Helen, are you ready to work on your math?"
Helen: "Sure. What lesson are we on?"
Me: "You have a test today."
Helen: Her face lights up. "A test?! Yay!"
Helen bounces across the room with a smile, grabs a sharp pencil, and settles down to work through Math Test 21. Why can't I react like that to a test?!
Actually, all my kids like tests - at least the kind they have to do as part of their schoolwork. The reason for this fondness for tests isn't too complicated. On a non-test day in math, for example, we check over any missed problems from yesterday's homework, then read through and discuss a new lesson. Finally, depending on age, each child works through 25-30 problems in the new problem set, reviewing familiar concepts and practicing new ones. For my 5th grader, this means about 30-40 minutes of math work...for my highschool sophomore, maybe an hour and a half. But on test day - no review from yesterday, no lesson to discuss, and a cool 20 problems in black ink on a white sheet of paper. Because they spend so much time practicing their math on other days, because they really know the material, tests are easy cheesy and take only a fraction of the time required for a regular lesson. A test is really a kind of holiday - WooHoo!
I've written before about how miserably I handle tests in life. I usually don't even recognize a test until I'm in the middle of it and either freaking out or swinging punches or both. But maybe if I prepared more deliberately every day for tests - like my school kids - I could approach tests differently. If I took more time to study the Book, to think about (pray about) the lessons, then maybe, when I find myself facing a test, I could respond like Helen. Maybe I could respond with joy.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness...