Posted by: christinelaennec | September 3, 2011

A Leap of Faith

Angel card illustrating a leap of faith.

It’s been an interesting week to say the least!  As long-time readers will know, a year ago the Dafter moved up to high school.  She was badly bullied there and we moved her to another school after Easter, although sadly this meant giving up Gaelic.  Her self-confidence was very low indeed, and she never quite settled in her new school, although she did say she was sad when the school year ended.  Over the summer she seemed to relax a bit, and come round to thinking that if people were mean to her, perhaps it was their problem and not hers.  Although I am obviously biased, I think she is a lovely girl with a sweet and loving nature, and an irrepressible personality.  She has never been a conformist, but until this year had been content to be herself.  By the end of the summer she seemed to have regained a great deal of her inner balance.

She was nervous about going back to school, which we understood.  We got involved with various activities at the school over the summer, and I was praying that she would settle in and be happy there after all she had been through.  However, this was not to be!  She calmly explained to us exactly why she found her new school so difficult.  After a few days, it was clear to us that she wasn’t going to manage to continue there.  And so, with great trepidation, we began the search for a new school – again.  We widened our net and visited others we hadn’t considered before.  I spent a few nights wide awake with my heart racing, praying for guidance.  I was terrified that I might have to homeschool her myself, for which I feel supremely unqualified and unsuited.  More than that, I worried about whether we were finding the right balance between listening to her and being responsible parents.  I reflected that when we’d moved her at Easter, she’d said she wasn’t sure she would like the new school.  However, because there were no places in any other school at the time, and because we liked the school and felt she would be happy, we had moved her.  This time around, she was much stronger in herself, and much more able to articulate what she needed.  And we felt we needed to listen, trust, and take a leap.

And so it was that yesterday the Dafter started, a week late, at her new new high school.  She had liked it very much on visits, and particularly liked the uniform.  She was very keen to get back to school and get going with learning.  On the morning she was nervous and a bit tearful, and I spent the day with more than half of my consciousness sending good thoughts her way.  When we met her after school, she was relaxed and chatting with the other kids.  She’d enjoyed her day (and still liked the uniform).

Of course I pray she will settle and thrive.  We all three feel quite bruised by what we’ve been through, but we’re hopeful.  It’s been an interesting test of my spiritual strength, or should I call it weakness?  For a person allegedly of faith, I am such a chicken!  I take comfort from Mark 9:24 “I believe; help thou my unbelief!”

She did some wonderful artwork over the summer, and I am still hoping she may show some pieces to you in a guest post.  In the meantime, we’ve been doing a lot of homework today.  There are all sorts of new things to adjust to, and it’s tiring of course.  But for the first time in a long time she has been singing Gaelic songs.  I’ll let you know how things go.  I look forward to autumn colours, routine, knitting, blogging and (I hope) a happier daughter.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend and I wish you a good week to come!



  1. ah Christine, i believe you have done the right thing. it’s a great thing that your dear daughter has two wonderful advocates for her life. i understand the concern over the balancing act between responsible parenting and listening to your child….. i’ve been there myself. bless you and your family as you settle into a new season!

  2. Your lovely girl has such an inner strength that will show more and more. I am sure that by listening to her and valuing her in the way that you have, you have done absolutely the right thing.
    Blessings and love to you all.
    PS, I love the angel cards too. xx

  3. I know nothing about parenting, but it seems to me that The Barefoot Crofter has hit the nail on the head. What you have done is a great demonstration of your faith in her, and that should:

    a. build her self confidence
    b. build your relationship (which will surely be more valuable and enduring than any other relationship she has with her friends)

  4. I think you have shown great strength in listening to and catering for your dafter’s needs. You have a wonderful relationship, and that will see you through, against all odds. Best wishes to you all.

  5. Can she do Gaelic at the new school? If she is singing Gaelic songs, it sounds like this is important to her?
    Yes I agree with Barefoot Crofter – she will appreciate that you listened to her!

  6. My heart goes out to you and the Dafter (and of course Michael too) and I hope that all will be well and she can settle and enjoy. It is so important to like your surroundings and people in it, as it makes for a happier time and learning becomes more joyous. A-M is going back tomorrow and she is preparing for a tuff year ahead with Gcse’s at the end of it. I am blessed with a very confident girl that seems to have both feet firmly on the ground..she has just found herself a Saturday job in a bookshop and is thinking of riding in India next year for charity.
    Will I see you again sometime? I do hope so very much. In the meantime consider yourself hugged. Thinking of you xx

  7. I’m sure the Dafter will finally find her way and have a great schooltime…I will keep all my fingers and toes crossed for you all…
    Er xx

  8. You are wonderful parents for taking such an active role in making sure your dafter enjoys her education and has a healthy view of herself. There is no greater gift than the support and love of kind parents. She is a very fortunate dafter. xx

  9. Christine: I think you and Michael have taught your girl so many good things these past weeks. The most important is that you value her important feelings and opinions. Just as important, though, you’ve shown her that some big, complicated problems are tough to crack and it can take more than one try to work them out. And that you’ll be at her side when they come up, doing your best to fracture them. She’ll remember that and be guided by that later in life, as a mother or not. Best of luck to all three of you in coming months. I so hope you hear more Gaelic songs …

  10. Dear All,

    I can’t thank you enough for your extremely kind and understanding comments. It’s been such a boost, and to Michael as well. I do feel that whatever comes next, our family is close and our daughter feels listened to and valued. So that can only be a good thing.

    oldblack, your remark reminded me of an article I read this summer. It was by a father of seven children, including one disabled child and two adopted children. He said that far from feeling he had learned anything about raising children, the only thing he could say with certainty is that each child is completely individual and needs different things from his or her siblings.

    Cathy, you’re so right that life involves blind alleys and false starts. If we can show her that what’s important is trying to be creative in finding one’s way, that’s an accomplishment.

    Roobeedoo, Gaelic will need to be an extra-curricular thing, but we’re hoping to find a tutor for our Dafter along with some of her friends.

    Thanks to everyone for sending so many good wishes. Today ought to have been Day 2 of the New new school, but the poor Dafter is in bed with a throat infection and antibiotics! She was so disappointed because she was really looking forward to school today. I am mostly succeeding in keeping this latest turn of events in perspective. (Oh how we shall laugh years from now!)

  11. I admire your strength to listen to and follow your hearts. And I wish the best for your daughter, hope she is well soon.

  12. O how worrying for you all and how mature for your dafter to know what she needed. I’m crossing my fingers this hopeful start in her new school continues abd she has the great experience she deserves.

  13. Praying for both you and your sweet daughter. These are difficult, wrenching choices you’ve had to make. It is never simple to sort out what is making too big of a deal over an issue and what is good, thoughtful parenting. We’ve been through some of this with our oldest.

    The scripture you quoted is a great comfort to me. In theory I am a person of boundless faith (until things don’t go well, especially if this involves those I love).

    Take care. May she heal quickly.

  14. Dear Dorit, Scruffybadger and Kelly,

    Thank you so much. I can’t express how much it means to me to have your votes of confidence, and your good wishes.

    Kelly – you’ve cheered me up very much by telling me I’m not the only one whose “boundless faith” quivers under stress!

  15. This sounds like a particularly stressful decision. My eldest son was bullied in grade school and it was about the most stressful parenting time. But, this too shall pass and it sounds as if her irrepressible spirit will carry her along.

  16. Oh, it sounds like it’s going to be a good ending to a stressful time…and a good beginning to her high school years. I’m glad you find her singing again!

  17. Dear Sigrid and Dianne,

    Thanks so much for your understanding and supportive comments. Yes, the singing is great to hear. And I will remember “This Too Shall Pass”!

  18. Wishing your daughter all the best in her new school. If she does feel like sharing her artwork with us I am sure there are tonnes of your readers who would love to see it.

    • Thanks so much purlpower! In fact this evening she was thinking about what she would like to include in her post, so she’ll be happy for the extra encouragement.

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