Having graduated all of our children more than a decade ago (homeschooled all the way!), I now have a bird’s eye view of homeschooling: seeing such things as what worked and what didn’t, how homeschool kids navigate adulthood, and which emphasis proved to be most valuable for our kids. For me, it is especially thought–provoking to see how things they eagerly pursued as children often were significant indicators of what they would pursue as adults.
Which brings me to this discussion of serving God and others. In our busy home, we found ways to serve our church and community by serving creatively (with music and drama) and sharing hospitality with people we met, particularly internationals. So, in my mind, I assumed that my children would grow up to do the same, simple, everyday things. And, in some ways they do. But in other ways, they leave me in the dust when it comes to serving.
A case in point: my daughter, from the time she was little, always showed a great awareness of–and care for–people who were hurting, left out, or ignored. We have story after story of how she would be so motivated to care for someone else that she pushed through her natural shyness to reach out. While still at home, my daughter sought to serve others by setting up a preschool reading program at our library, and serving at a soup kitchen. In college, she led a team of students to Belize to work on building a community center and soccer field for families living far from the closest town, a project started by locals who cared for their community but who needed help in seeing it completed.
After college, she worked for two years with refugees, discovering ways to help families struggling with incredible difficulties in adapting to their new home in America. In graduate school, she gave assistance to victims of domestic violence in the court system, and is now helping research jobs for those in need.
Honestly, I fought her on a lot of this. When she wanted to work at the soup kitchen, I told her in a snarky voice that there was plenty of work to do around the house! While my focus as a homeschool mom was so often on trying to get through each day, her focus was on people in need.
And, today, I can see that. I stand before you as one amazed–and one who is still learning. You see, my daughter’s huge heart of service has opened a world to me that I never knew was there.
So, as you ponder how you and your kids can best serve God and others, I want to encourage you to listen to what is on your children’s hearts. It is quite possible that God has woven something into the fiber of their being that is much larger than you can even imagine.
Remember, stay relational.
P.S. I sent a copy of this article to my daughter. In reply, she wrote, “i may have instigated some of the small stuff, but you always encouraged global thinking and world changing.” Wow. Homeschooling and intentionally parenting can actually change the world as our kids serve God and others.