When my son was in grade school, he had excellent teachers for his second grade and third grade years. Both of those teachers told me that Nate was smart, and I thought that perhaps this was something that each teacher said to each parent. So, I readily dismissed those comments. Finally, his third grade teacher convinced me that we should have him tested. A few months later I sat down with the school psychologist and went over the tests. At the time, I had no idea what the ranges for a person’s IQ was. So when the psychologist said “Your son’s IQ is 130,” I looked at her and said “ok.” That’s when she responded “No, you don’t understand. The low average IQ score is 80-89, average is 90-109, high average is 110-119, superior is 120-129” – I was listening, and as she kept progressing up the scale, I realized that she had not yet hit my child’s IQ classification. Finally she said “very superior is 130 and above.” It was at that moment, I knew that I faced a dilemma. I knew what to do with an average to below average child, but I was totally clueless as to what I should do with a child who had a very superior intellect.
Then she shared even more revealing information to me. How he scored in each subject category was discussed. My eight year-old son’s knowledge and abilities in math equated to a student half-way through 10th grade. And while I knew that math was a strong suit for Nate (he was doing multiplication when he was the age of three), I was blown away that his math ability was that strong. Similarity, in science, he also scored high. But, then there was the opposite end of the spectrum. His reading and writing abilities were on the level of someone in the beginning of first grade. That meant, that while Nate could have gone to the gifted and talented school in the district, he also qualified for special education assistance at the same time.
At that moment I knew that I was entering a time in which I would need to be a very strong advocate and mediator in my child’s education, more so than other parents. Armed with the information from the psychologist, I began to do one of the things that is very common for me – I researched. Now this was at the time where we didn’t have computers in each of our homes, so that meant lots of legwork in libraries, and talking to doctors and experts. And, the research paid off, because when he reached the fourth grade, he got not one, but two, difficult teachers. Now, I can imagine that teaching a child is hard, and teaching a child that requires special accommodations is even more difficult. However, the law, and district guidelines required that the teachers follow an IEP (Individualized Education Program), and when he hit fourth grade, both of his teachers ignored his IEP. So after talking to each teacher on more than one occasion, his IEP was still being ignored. I am not one that will accept anyone doing less than they are required, so this momma bear took things a step further and I filed a complaint against his teachers. A meeting was held with the Principal, his teachers, and a person who was introduced as a learning expert (only to find out later that the Principal and his teachers lied to me, in actuality, the other person was a union representative). We came to some agreement on how his teachers were going to proceed with my son’s IEP. From that day on, the only way his teachers would communicate with me was through another teacher (I guess that they were afraid of me!) Subsequent meetings with the local school district administration lead to the teachers and the Principal being reprimanded and re-assigned due to their dishonesty with me. In one short year, I had gone from knowing nothing about how to navigate and advocate for my son in the school system, to taking on the school and making them follow the letter of the law. And, that would not be the last time that I had to insert myself into the picture on behalf of my child.
Knowing that I went to such lengths to advocate for my child, lead me to think about just how much Jesus, the ultimately perfect mediator, stands in my stead. My paltry skills are nothing compared to the Son of God! If I can stand in the stead for my son and get justice for my son, how much more does Jesus send Satan packing? I can see Jesus now, in a courtroom, with God in the Judge’s seat, Satan in the prosecutor’s seat, and Jesus at the defense table with me next to Him. No argument that Satan presents can sail past my Defender. No surprise witnesses from the prosecutor can rattle the ultimate advocate! And in the end of the lengthy trial, the verdict comes back – because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am not guilty. I am free. And, any mistakes I’ve made are forever forgiven! My Lord and Savior, has paid the ransom for me. I can enter into the Kingdom unimpeded. Praise God!
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34, ESV)