At the end of my seventh grade year in public school, I was on the bubble for moving into the advanced math track, or staying with the average students. My mother was eager for me to move ahead with math and she intervened on my behalf. My math teacher’s recommendation would determine which track I took. Eventually my mother persuaded the teacher to send me with the advanced students. As she reluctantly agreed to make the recommendation, the teacher told my mother, “Well, maybe he’s a late bloomer.”
As a result of that encounter (thanks, Mom!), I moved ahead with math, finishing high school with AP calculus. I went on to minor in mathematics in college.
I have thought about my math teacher’s statement many times over the years. It’s not uncommon for me to take a little longer to grasp a situation and respond.
But here is the great thing about late bloomers. We bloom. We eventually get there. Blooming late is much different from never blooming. Sometimes the late bloomers bloom the biggest. Einstein did not speak until he was 3 years old.
Now I’m witnessing the joy of late blooming in one of my children. My younger daughter has always had to work harder grasping concepts and remembering important information. As I am, she is a slow reader. While it takes more time and effort for her to master a concept, once she has latched on to it, she will never forget it. Her powers of memorizing are formidable.
She can always understand; it just takes awhile to get there. That has always been the case for her. But now I can see the real power of her personality and intellect beginning to emerge.
I say all this to remind myself that there is still time – for me. I can still bloom when it comes to having a book published, reaching my city with the gospel, and mastering Latin.
I also remind myself that my children are eventually going to get it. They will grasp the difficult academics. They will develop a strong work ethic. They will learn to do their chores without being told. OK, that’s a stretch, but maybe they will before they get married.
Another way to say this is that it is never too late. I can still accomplish all that God intends, from this day forward. I don’t have to be bogged down with regret. I can stop mourning missed opportunity and move ahead. I can still bloom.
That is the hope we have in Jesus. He makes all things new. A smoldering wick he will not snuff out. A bruised reed he will not break. A slow plant he allows to bloom.