The Sweet Spot

Don’t you love it when your child finds their sweet spot—that thing that holds their attention and piques their interest? In our family, one child has an insatiable interest in factoids. He enjoys reading books about unusual facts and is a trove of trivia knowledge. Another child finds great joy in figuring out how things work. He will take apart and put together anything that does not move.

The yearly journey to Jerusalem for Passover is another indicator of Joseph and Mary’s devotion to God. The dangerous trip took three or four days—an obvious sacrifice of time and resources for a carpenter’s family, but taking Jesus to the annual celebration was a step in his religious education. The temple was not only a place of worship, but also a place of learning as evidenced by the teachers who were present. Here we have only a snapshot of his education, but the scene indicates the parents of Jesus were involved in his training. In the temple, Jesus lingered, listened, and entered into discussion with the teachers.

When they realized Jesus was not with them, they went into panic mode. After an anxious three-day search, they found him in his sweet spot—in the temple, talking with the teachers. He had a thirst and aptitude to discuss spiritual issues. His parents sound more annoyed than astounded, angry not about the learning but because Jesus stayed behind without permission.

As the Son of God, Jesus is different from other kids, but all kids have individual interests and needs. Even though military families move around, we can still address the unique educational needs of our children. I recently met one energetic military mom with five children in five different schools! Nicole’s situation is unusual—and challenging, but she recognizes the temporary nature of her educational taxi service. She is dedicated to helping her children find their sweet spot. The prayer she and her husband pray for their kids uses the words at the end of this story about Jesus in the temple: May they increase “in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

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