Someone asked me awhile back what a typical school day looks like for our unschooling family. I’m sure I had the same look on my face as Cami gets on hers when someone says, “What grade are you in, Cami?” There are no words adequate for the explanation. The answers are complicated and simple all at the same time. Cami is officially in the sixth grade in our church Sunday school, but her schoolwork’s grade level varies from subject to subject. And that’s okay. She loves to learn, and that’s why I love to homeschool.
Today’s post is a glimpse into my 12-year-old-with-multiple-learning-differences’ mind. She wrote it herself, and wanted me to share with you all. I have to preface it by saying we haven’t discussed the proper form of an essay, nor have we begun the tedious task of learning how to write a five-paragraph essay. (Don’t mistake my words: the five-paragraph essay is a useful tool to have in any writer’s arsenal; but like any form, it can be tedious to teach.)
A few things you need to know before I drop you in the middle of Cami’s internal narrative: 1. We’ve recently been watching through all the Marvel Comics movies in the Avengers franchise. 2. We had just arrived at the auto shop where they said it would take an hour for the oil change and servicing we were there for. 3. Cami was bored.
And now, a Cami essay.
STRENGTH OUT OF WEAKNESS
[An hour???! Great. I'm already bored!
Hmm. Maybe I'll write an essay. But what about? Hmmmmmm. Warriors? Harry Potter? The Lord of the Rings? My brain is empty. Oh, I know! That's perfect! Okay, here we go:]
Imagine you’re at the movie theatre. You buy a ticket for Cowboys vs. Aliens, get some popcorn, and take your seat. The movie starts, and the screen shows a truck driving up somewhere in. . .Antarctica? Wait, you think. Cowboys don’t have trucks. Oh, maybe this is a flashback. Then, on the screen a man walks up and two men climb out of the truck’s cab. The first man has an orange light on a pole. Wait, cowboys don’t have flashlights on poles, either. Then the three men go over to the wreckage of what looks like what might be a spacecraft. Oh, this is where the aliens come in, you think.
They cut a hole in the top.
The two men from the truck go in.
They look around.
One man brushes some powder snow off of some ice.
“Sergeant, come look at this!”
What’s in the ice, that causes so much excitement? an alien’s face? a hand? No and no. It’s. . .it’s. . .a metal disc, red with black edges. . .and a white star in the middle.
Oh, crap! you think. This is the wrong movie!
That’s what happened to my dad once when he accidentally went to see Captain America.
. . .which now is one of my favorite movies.
[And that's the introduction. But exactly what point do I want to prove? What does one write in an essay about Captain America? I should have thought this through.]
. . .[thinking]. . .[Ah-ha!]
If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics, I’m guessing that you know that before Captain America became Captain America, he was a small and rather wimpy-looking guy named Steve Rogers. The one thing that Steve really wanted was to serve his country in World War II. However, everyone thought that he was too short, too small, and altogether weak. So, then, why was he chosen for the serum? Because, when asked, “So you want to kill Nazis?” Steve replied, “No, I don’t want to kill anyone.” Then when asked, “Then why do you want to go?” he said, “Because I don’t like bullies.” Steve was chosen because no matter how many times he was knocked down, he always got back up.
God uses weak people in His plan, too. Paul told the Corinthians, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” —2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV
And, of course, if you’re familiar with Captain America’s story, you’re also going to be familiar with his “powers.” First of all, he’s super strong. Second of all, he can run super fast. Third, he’s super tough.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “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, NIV
And then, of course, there’s Captain America’s shield, which is made of a very special metal unlike any other in the universe. In fact, it’s such a rare metal that it only exists as that shield. Whatever hits it will bounce off with the same amount of force as what hit it. That’s a cool shield!
As Christians, we have an even more awesome shield. Sure, this shield doesn’t have a red-white-and-blue pattern on it, but it’s the best shield we could ever ask for: ”The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” —Psalm 28:7, NIV
[And that's my three examples. What now? What's the conclusion?]
. . .
[Honestly, I've been making this up as I go along. What point have I proved? that Captain America is a clean movie? that it's in sync with the Bible? Oh, I know!
The conclusion is (drumroll, please):]
No matter how many times you’re knocked down, never give up; you can do all things through Christ Who gives you strength; and God is always with you.
Cami drew a simple star after the last word, presumably to be a reminder to the reader of the star on Captain America’s shield.
Cami is the star in my book. She’s my favorite super hero.
So blessed by my sweet girl, who constantly reminds me of the Truth.