Lucas sat at the breakfast table, folding his math homework into a tiny football. When the paper triangle was tight enough to tuck in the edge, he balanced the paper football on the table and flicked it towards the wall.
“Lucas,” his mother said sternly, “Do you have your school stuff packed? Where’s your math homework?”
Lucas pointed to the paper football on the floor. His mother grabbed the paper and unfolded it.
“Lucas, you didn’t finish half the problems! Quit goofing around. You’ve got to get this done.”
“I can’t,” Lucas said. “I’m no good at math.”
“Oh, cut it out,” his mother said, “We have to leave for school in fifteen minutes.”
“I’m not going!” Lucas yelled. “Math is stupid! I hate school!”
Have you had a fight like this one? Have you ever felt “no good” at something?
There’s hope for kids who feel “no good” at school. We can find that hope in the Bible. From the very beginning, God created each of us “good.” What’s more, as soon as God created people, he gave everyone important work to do. Take charge of the world, God said in Genesis 1:28. Schoolwork is an important part of taking charge. God cares very much about your work and about you when you’re at school.
If you’re struggling at school, Jesus has a special message for you. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Being poor in spirit means you’re honest about what you’re not good at. That’s the first step, being honest with God and with other people about what’s hard. If you’re honest, God and other people can help you get better.
Try this: Parents and kids, name one thing you’re “not good” at doing. Make up a super-un-hero who is the worst at this, and tell a story. Ex: Math Disaster Man couldn’t count down from ten, so his rocket launched backwards. See who can tell the funniest story.
God, help me when I feel no good. Give me willingness to learn new things, and your power to do it. Amen.
More inspirational audio: a short reflection on a famous politician and his schoolboy failures.