Raising kids in this world is difficult, and the global events of the last month alone are enough to add fear to any mother's heart. Combine with that fear the pressure to meet our current culture's thoughts on what it means for a child to be smart, healthy, well-adjusted, competitive, and happy. Then try to juxtapose our own children with the children around the world who are struggling for life alone- for basic food, shelter, and schooling- and there's a tension that looms larger and won't be ignored. We've all heard as children (or told our own) to "eat your food, because other kids halfway around the world don't have any food at all!" But its different now, right? We've seen pictures of those malnourished kids, and some of them aren't actually across an ocean. Photographs and mass media have brought those kids to the screen's in our houses and on our phones and what can we do?
I just told a friend yesterday that homeschooling my daughter this year has served to really force me to think about what I most deeply hope for my children. And may I suggest that this might be a place for us to start in our struggle to love the world more deeply- that we first evaluate our hearts and actions to know what they are really saying to this world. This is my step for today, and I pray that these words become more than just words in my life:
But I'd Rather...
I want to be healthy and live a long life,
But I'd rather be trained by illness to number my days that I may spend them wisely.
I want my kids to learn to read and write and add and subtract.
But I'd rather they learn to love and serve, to give and receive in community.
I want to give my kids all the gifts they want,
But I'd rather they have little and understand that the most valuable things in life aren't bought.
I want myself and my family to be safe,
But I'd rather we give up some of ours to seek safety for someone else.
I want to feel beautiful,
But I'd rather be confident as God's daughter regardless and see beauty in others.
I want my kids to have things come easily,
But I'd rather they learn the value of perseverance through struggle,
I want to have excess (food, medical supplies, etc) so I don't worry about tomorrow,
But I'd rather have faith that is beyond circumstances, and understanding of what it means for God to give my daily bread.
I want my kids to be liked,
But I'd rather they thrive on knowing who they are, choosing exclusion over conformity.
I want my house to be clean and my belongings unbroken,
But I'd rather be reminded daily to love people not things, to choose community over perfect-clean.
I want my husband to have a good job and be successful,
But I'd rather he risk security to follow what he is passionate about and be able to spend time with his family.
I want to be a perfect mother,
But I'd rather my kids know my faults and vulnerabilities, that they may trust me with their own.
I want my kids to not be teased or left out,
But I'd rather those things train them in empathy, that they'd learn to be an advocate for others.
I want to insulate myself and my kids from the broken things of this world,
But I'd rather we learn how God has uniquely made us to be part of redeeming brokenness, and be brave enough to live out our roles.