Paralyzed by Long Division

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I’m not a very good math teacher. My younger daughter’s brain and mine don’t think alike. We approach just about everything in life very differently. That includes math.

I discovered last week that long division can paralyze my daughter. You see, in long division, a lot of times you have to make an educated guess about where to start solving the problem. And my daughter hates to guess. She’s a black-and-white kind of girl. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. Long division requires that she work a bit in the gray area, which she doesn’t like.

Having to guess what number to start with made my daughter not want to start the problem. She would sit and stare at the problem, trying to figure out in her head what number worked. She was so afraid of getting it wrong and having to do the problem over again that she didn’t even want to start.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of moments in life where there is no right or wrong answer, moments where we simply have to do the best we can with the information we have. And we don’t want those moments to paralyze our kids. Teaching our kids to make the best choices they can make with the information they have means we have to teach them to step out in faith.

We don’t always have all the facts when we have to make a decision. We don’t always know what lies around the bend. But we still have to make decisions. We still have to move forward. We have to take a step of faith.

Our kids need to know that no matter what decision they make, God is in charge. He’s got this. While we can’t see around the bend in the road, He can. He knows what lies ahead. We just have to trust Him as we go.

When our kids are struggling to make a decision, when they are paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision, we need to remind them that God wants to help them. God wants to offer them the wisdom to choose the path He has for them. All they have to do is ask Him and listen for the answer.

Part of our job is to help our kids hear God. When they ask God for help making decisions, we need to remind them to listen for the ways that God speaks. They need to know that God can speak to us directly through the Bible, through a quiet voice in our hearts, and through other people. We just have to be listening for His answer.

Don’t let the fear of what’s ahead keep your kids from making decisions. Remind them that God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but one of power (2 Timothy 1:7). Help your kids step out in faith and make the decisions that will lead them on the path God has for them.

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