Have you ever stopped to think about the number of decisions that you make in one day? If you compared the number of good decisions versus bad decisions, which do you generally make more of? My hope is that you see that the general trend is that you make more good decisions on a daily basis. Now, I am not just talking about the decisions that are easy to make, I am talking about those big decisions that have no clear “right” answer.
My youngest daughter is 8 years old. When I found out I was pregnant with her I was so worried about how this little soul would survive with two older twin sisters. Little did I know, God had big plans for her. She came into this world with an incredible sense of other people. She is so expressive and linguistically advanced for her age that sometimes I forget that I am talking to a little girl. However, she was the product of the great Covid shutdown and missed the last half of kindergarten. She struggled through first and second grade and was unable to pick up the basic foundational reading skills or meet the benchmarks at school. We started doing our research on learning disabilities and decided to have her tested for Dyslexia. She was diagnosed with a couple different forms of Dyslexia as well as ADD. It was last spring that her teacher called with a shaky voice and wanted to set up a meeting involving administrators. Being in education, I knew what was coming. They wanted to hold her back and have her repeat the second grade. Although this was what the school was recommending, her dad and I were given the summer to make a final decision.
We did everything we possibly could to try and catch her up over the summer. She attended summer school with a reading program, participated in Dyslexia tutoring, and spent time reading at home. However, when that phone call came in August, we knew she was still not where she needed to be. So, we told the principal that we would like to have her repeat the second grade. We sat her down and talked her through our decision and tried to communicate this as a gift of time and an advantage versus a negative consequence. Nothing could have prepared us for the first day of school. I got a call from the assistant principal that my daughter was in her office sobbing uncontrollably. A girl in her class had announced to the rest of the class that my daughter was new because she was supposed to be in third grade. Additionally, her class was in the cafeteria at lunch time when all of the third graders came in. Her former classmates all started to point at her and say things to one another. When she got on the phone with me, she said, “Mommy, I can’t do this!’ My heart instantly broke.
So, like any parent would do, I knew I needed to reach out for help. I was questioning my decision. I asked a team to come together and help me take a look at both decisions for my daughter. I began to consider the reality of moving her up to third grade. She would be with her same age peers and continue to build those friendships. She would have to rely on these peers to help read things to her, help her write what she wanted to say, and at times not be able to follow what her teacher was expecting her to understand. She would have to give up her extra-curricular activities in order to make room for additional tutoring. Being a single parent, I would have to dedicate more of my time in the evenings to sitting and working with her. If she stays in the second grade, she feels inferior. She will always be a year older and possibly even taller for a few years. Kids will ask her how old she is on her birthday and for a moment she will hesitate to tell them the truth for the rest of her school years. No matter what, there is sacrifice, pain, and suffering on either side of the coin.
As you can imagine, this is not an easy decision. There is no absolute certain right or wrong answer. When looking at both possibilities there is suffering in both choices. This is not only my suffering, but this choice affects my child’s suffering as well. However, there is power in the fact that we get to choose what that suffering will look like. When faced with a crossroads in life, we can take the perspective of power when we reflect on the challenges that will come with our choice and begin to make a plan of how we will overcome those challenges. I want to share how I came to this decision, and I hope that it might help someone facing their own debacle.
If you are anything like me, when I do not know what to do, I turn to research. I began to look at studies in education that gave me the cold hard facts of retention. As the numbers became overwhelming and I could not make sense of what I was reading, I turned to the book with all of life’s answers:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.
I needed to take a step outside of myself and look beyond this very moment that I viewed with no immediate gain. I needed to consider the potential long-term benefits. I began by stating my desired outcome and why I wanted to achieve it. I started considering some of the immediate sacrifices and asked myself if they would outweigh the possible long-term gains. How can I look beyond this very moment and visualize this decision working well in my life?
Another helpful line of thinking is to consider a "head choice" versus a "heart choice". As an educator, I knew on paper that my daughter needs to repeat the second grade. It was a head choice; it just made sense. The numbers do not lie. However, in my heart I knew I did not want her to see herself as less. I wanted her to be able to be in a classroom filled with friends that love her for who she is — meeting her longing need for friendship and familiarity. I knew she had a strength of making friends but did I want to ask her to start all over again with a new peer group? At times, when facing a difficult decision, it can be helpful to find a solution that integrates both the head and the heart. The best decisions often have both emotional rewards and make rational sense.
The last line of thinking and, by far, one of the most difficult, is to consider the disappointment. This is something we all can admit we avoid. The fear that you feel in making the “wrong” decision can actually be helpful. Use the fear before it uses you. Begin by considering all the possible outcomes- even the worst that you can imagine. Begin to consider how you would mitigate the damage of that worst possible situation. Begin to ask yourself: are there things that you can do to eliminate or reduce some of those worst possible outcomes? You were born with gifts and strengths and you have pulled yourself up from difficult places before. You can do it again. History is the greatest predictor of future behavior. Reflect on the ways that you have successfully overcome challenges in the past and use that to consider how you will hurdle any difficulties you will face.
The decisions we make in life are not always going to come with ease. I am confident that my life will hold several more difficult decisions with a great deal of uncertainty. Especially as a parent. I will leave you with a piece of advice that my mom shared with me, “For whatever decision you make, make the one that when you look back at your life at the age of 85, you feel proud.” . There is so much wisdom in those words. Make your decisions from a place filled with hope and love. I wish this for you as you navigate this world filled with opportunity.
Our 6th Annual Peace Partnership Golf Classic presented by Metcalf Auto Plaza was a beautiful day for our golfers and volunteers. The rain stopped just in time for registration and check-in, turning it into the perfect first day of fall. If you were a participant, we hope you had a wonderful time with friends and colleagues. Thank you to our many sponsors and volunteers who helped make this event a success.
Because of each of you, we were able to raise $40,000 to help the individuals, children, and families in our community. Your sponsorships, registration, silent auction, contests, and raffle sales allow us to invest in their future! We are so grateful to our sponsors, golfers, volunteers, and in-kind donors. Thank you, Laura Messer from Paths Law Firm, for a fantastic job on event photos this year. You can check them out on our Facebook page.
Have you or someone you know been helped by Peace Partnership or Genesis Counseling? If so, would you please consider paying it forward to help another find healing along their journey? We are asking anyone who is not currently partnering with us financially to consider donating $100/year for the next 3 years to help make a difference in someone else’s life. Collectively, we can help SO MANY PEOPLE! Please consider a gift today. Call the office for help getting your gift set up or choose a recurring donation on our website here. We are so grateful for your help changing lives!
We want to thank each of you for the part you play in allowing us to provide high-quality, affordable counseling services for individuals, children, and families. We couldn’t do it without you and the life change you help provide through your giving is making a generational impact!
Thank you Stan & Deb Oglesby and Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services for partnering with us each quarter. What a joy to know you have joined arms with us to help us move forward in our mission.
We are so grateful to Rachel Tovey – EPR Properties, Especially Jewelry, Joe & Shannon Reynolds, Tim Hayes, Allen & Libby Morrow, Robert Thompson, Brian Hill, and Annie Vernor – EPR Properties for your donations toward our golf tournament. We appreciate your heart for the families we serve.
Thank you, Willie & Adia Valdes, Teddy Koehler, and Tarae Thibeaux for answering our invitation to give back so that others in our community have the opportunity to receive affordable counseling. We are so honored to have you partner with us.
A special thank you to Graceway, Mantel Teter, Stephanie & David Schwirtz, Greg Campbell – Miracle Mile Motors, Paths Law Firm, B&H Freight Line, and Lona Bremer – Reece Nichols for your Golf Classic Sponsorships.
Thank you to Curtis Beasley, Doug Bonebrake, Jeff Myers – Alpha Mortgage, Zak Hill – Hill Pro-Motion Physical Therapy, Church at Coffee Creek, Dan Wahl, EPR Properties, and Tracy Protsman – Premier Network for your Golf Classic Registrations. We are so pleased you could join us for our amazing tournament.
A special Thank You to our faithful monthly supporters: Stone AMP SEO, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Jondy & Heather Britton, Mark McDonald, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Matt & Kristy Newton, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Greg & Jennifer Spears, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, Brent & Amanda Miller, Mike & Jan McGraw, Linda Hartman, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Sandra Cooper, Demi Raveill, Diane Smith, Stan & Linda Byrd, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Kevin Quinn, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Jon & Naomi Thompson, John & Keshia Otradovec, Tamara Stroud, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Vicki Hefner, Cory & Leslie Young, Craig & Samantha Compton, Jenny Glasgow, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Rick & Jan Britton, and Mark & Cathy McGaughey.
We appreciate you!
Contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, at: 816.272.0653 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.
The Peace Partnership 3rd Annual Christmas Lottery is just around the corner. More info to come on social media and next month’s newsletter.