Shredding the Label

I love glass jars. I like to reuse them over and over. I will buy something like a jar of spaghetti sauce, use the sauce, shred the label on the jar, wash it and use it again. When you reuse a glass jar, you can see that there is an old label there that no longer applies. It’s been shredded or washed away (sometimes with difficulty) with only a faint nod towards the former contents of the jar. But it doesn’t hold any power over that jar. You can use it for whatever you like. So what if it once said “spaghetti sauce”? Doesn’t matter. You can drink sweet tea out of it if you want. You can store buttons, you can use it as a candy jar, for leftover soup, for honey, or loose change. Once that label has been shredded, it doesn’t matter what it said. It only matters what’s in the jar now.

When my son was in the First Grade he was diagnosed with learning disabilities in reading and writing as well as auditory processing disorder. He really struggled with his school work and he cluttered all his words together when he talked. I decided to home school him, against popular opinion in my neck of the woods. In my gut I knew he needed time and space to make his own way. So I brought him home to do school and never said a word to him about any learning disabilities. He never knew he had any. When he would struggle I would tell him that somethings just take more time with some kids and he would get it eventually. And I prayed that he would become all he was meant to be. I still pray that.

Don’t misunderstand me, this kid is brilliant. He is one of the smartest people I know. He is the guy you want on your team during trivia pursuit. But a few years ago it took him half a day to read 3 paragraphs and he could hardly string a sentence together when he was writing. I spent a lot of time reading to him. I read his science lessons and history books. I read literature books, grammar and math word problems, all the while telling him that one day he could do it on his own. One day, he finally did.

Today he is 16 and in the 10th grade. He works independently with very little assistance and has a high B average overall. He is currently working on chapter 6 of the novel he is writing. Several months ago he took the PSAT and recently received his scores. I didn’t know what to expect. But I really didn’t expect that he would get 640 on the Reading and writing portion of the test. That put him in the 96th percentile of the 3.5 million kids that take this test each year. Y’all, that means that theoretically, ONLY 4% of kids his age in America, that take this test each year will score higher than him…in READING and WRITING!!


When I saw his scores I told him the truth. I told him that he had a label. Several in fact…and that he had completely shredded them all. Maybe with some difficulty, the labels were removed. But they were gone. Regardless of what label was on his jar before, he is in control of what’s in his jar.

Friends, it doesn’t matter what labels you have. Bankrupt. Divorced. Unemployed. Disabled. Failure. Fill in the _________________. Pull the label right off and shred it. It may be difficult to remove, but it doesn’t have to hold any power over you. You decide what goes in your jar. Just give yourself some time and space and ask God to make you all that you are meant to be.

Photo credit: eltpics on / CC BY-NCCopy