"Mom! I found what I wanna write!" Aidan dashes into the school room with his nature reader in hand. He sets the volume down in front of me and points to the paragraph.
I glance quickly over the words and continue to help Avery with her math while Aidan pulls together a paper and pencil for his dictation.
"I'm ready, Mom." Aidan's pencil is poised.
"Okay. Where are we starting?" I have one hand on the book, the other keeping Miss Kate within reach lest she bolt.
"Right here." He points out the section. "All the way to here."
I begin to read aloud as he copies the words.
"It is curious to hear a young blackbird or thrush beginning to try a tune. First he sounds one note, then two or three. They are not always in tune, but he tries again and again."
"Okay. That's all." Aidan is ready to put down his pencil.
For the first time since he handed me the book, I actually start to pay attention to the passage. "Wait a minute, honey. I want to include just one more sentence. I really like it."
". . . he tries again and again . . . So, little by little, he learns his father's song."
Aidan scribbles off the last line, but before he rushes away I use the moment to really teach. Not just the copywork kind, but the heart kind.
Because I need to hear the words, too.
"Doesn't this sound like us, Aidan? We try our little tunes. Sometimes they sound good, and sometimes they're not right at all. But like the blackbird, we try again and again."
Aidan nods, and I get to the main point. "Do you know what tune we're learning? We're learning our Father's song. Just like the bird who copies his father's tune, we are learning to copy our heavenly Father in all that we say and do." I give my boy a squeeze and send him off to LEGO Land.
I reflect. He chose this passage out of the blue, but it was just what my heart needed at that moment. It sure feels like my notes are all warbly and erratic. But I continue to try again and again.
Aidan wanted the dictation to stop before we reached the last line. Sometimes I do the same thing. I try again and again. (And again and again.) But forget the main part. I forget that it's my Father's song that I'm learning.
Avery pulls me back to the present, demanding a drink or a snack or something prosaic like that. I focus on the task at hand, reminding myself that this too is part of learning my Father's song. This quiet, daily tending. Perhaps this is actually where my tune is most often refined. Right here, right at home. No one watching but the little ones. The little ones . . . and our Father.
Dictation taken from "Birds of the Air" by Arabella Buckley