This time of year children of all ages will be going through various tests. Students will be heading for their final year and hoping to finish well.
I’m not sure what you think about statutory testing but I recall, as a primary school pupil, silently sitting in rows and being terrified in case my pencil rolled off the edge of the desk and everyone looked at me. It was a strange experience like no event that we had come across all year and then suddenly we were put in a room where no one was allowed to speak or ask questions.
I don’t want to discuss if testing is good or bad. It works for some and not so well for others.
Tests have advantages and disadvantages and these very much depend on the child or person facing them and the work that has been put in. Life itself as we discover throws its own unique tests along the way.
We hear that each child has a gift and that every child matters, yet how do we help ensure through all of the tests that each child comes out empowered for their future and not simply labelled by a test?
From the moment we are born there are systems that are all around us. Our families or people around us have some kind of routine that we learn to live in and we are formed by their choices and our responses. Systems can help us to flourish as long as we understand they are not there to define us.
So what should define us?
Everyday we react to various situations based on our values. What we think about something or someone determines how we react. So if we are able to decide our thoughts or even change our thoughts then we can decide how we react. So for example if you know you are loved and accepted then the systems that you find yourself in are there to help you flourish not to define you. You are defined at your core (values) by something or someone greater!
I was recently watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with my two girls. I love that magical moment when Lucy discovers another world as she enters into Narnia through the wardrobe. Imagine how her mind must have been racing as she tried to logically work out how it was possible. Her previously known world was now given an upgrade and she begins to explore with both trepidation and excitement.
When she tells her siblings about this world they find it difficult to believe her, because they have yet to experience what she has discovered.
Later Lucy takes her siblings through and they each begin to discover their various abilities as they embrace who they are.
In the bible the Apostle Paul writes to people to help them live in the freedom that they have been called to. In the book of Galatians he says for those who are in Christ… All are one. When God looks at us we are all as one, no one is better. We are each made unique with different gifts and abilities and take on various responsibilities yet we are called to live at peace with one another.
Just as Lucy entered into a world and began to explore, it is up to us to ask the right questions and discover what gifts we have and how we can make a difference in this world.
When I see my children growing up in various systems it is my responsibility to speak life into their hearts and get them to embrace who they are, what they are good at and encourage them to make a difference by simply being themselves and using who they are to help others.
What I really enjoyed about the Narnia is the belief that they each grow in. Each one is unsure about gaining victory over the evil witch, yet there is someone who has chosen them and continually breathes belief into them. Aslan, the majestic lion, is a representation of Christ, who eventually dies and conquers death and sin bringing hope to what seems a hopeless situation. Christ completely broke the system that had defined the future of humanity and now offers another world that all can enter into. His love can affirm who we are at our core, when we accept his love through what He did when he died for us.
So to conclude, if there are things that have tried to define you then why not take a moment and choose to enter into another way of living. Embrace the systems that help you flourish but go deeper and have a belief in someone who not only believes in you but died for you.
We cannot change the past, but we can choose our future and more importantly our eternity.
So whatever test you face in the future, allow someone who is greater to support you through it. Get around people who will believe in you and help you discover your uniqueness and be bold enough to enter into, as Lucy did, a new world of discovery.
Lucy had her doubts but she was brave enough to trust
Good luck in the tests