What do I want to teach my kiddos? Of course they'll never live the life I lived. They'll never have a dad who, when he wasn't at work, was in the kitchen cooking. They'll never have a mom who was happy and laughing all the time. They'll never have an honest job at age 11 where they make their own money and take full responsibility for it. They'll never live in the same house for their entire childhood and youth. Things will be different for them. The world will be different. Not just because we move from place to place. Even if we stayed and settled in one house, in one neighborhood, in one city, things would be different for them. This world changes as well. It feels like there isn't a place in the world where calm and serenity reign. With the uprisings in North Africa and basically all over the middle East, except the UAE and Qatar, and the natural disasters spotting the globe, there is chaos everywhere. How can I prepare my children for such a world? What do you do the prepare your children? Do you tell them, "When you grow up, get yourself a good education, a nice money making job, and stay in the USA where its safe."? Will a university education be worth anything in 20 years? What will be the money making jobs be in 20 years? Will the USA be a safe place to live in 20 years?
Both Jonathan and I are university graduates. Jonathan is going back for more. He loves it. I love it. If I were available I would go back too. And I will, when the time is right. But learning and acquiring knowledge won't always make you any money. I think we will encourage our children to go to university. I don't think I'll say anything about what job they should choose. (I know it will be hard to keep my mouth shut. But I'm going to try.) And about living in the USA, I don't want to tell them to stay there. I hope that the way we are raising them will help them to want to experience the world. To mingle with their fellow Earthlings no matter what part of the globe they live on. I hope so many things for them. I worry about this world for them. I wonder where to focus my time with them. Should I sign them up for sports, or should I teach them how to grow a garden? Should I push them to read earlier, or should I show them how to trap a squirrel? Should I show them how to maneuver a computer program, or should I teach them how to cook a meal? This world is telling me so many things to do with my kids that would prepare them for life if they were going to be adults about 5 years ago. The problem is that they are going to be adults in 15 years. The people of this world can't predict what skills are going to be essential for life in 15 years. So my inclinations lead me to a different path. A path that will prepare them for the world I can see. The patterns I see. Basically, a path that would help them survive a life amid chaos if it were to befall them. I will feel so much better as a parent if I prepare them for the worst rather than for a life of ease and consumerism. So, I'll let the schools go on teaching early reading, computer skills, and sports, and I'll take care of the rest.
So, off my soapbox now, I'm happy that there is some good news in the world every once in a while. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and read CNN about the little Danish 3 year old who went missing for almost a whole day. I cried with happiness and cried with understanding for that mother. She'd argued with her little boy about not taking off his jacket because it was too cold. He stalked off angrily. I don't know the details but when she went to look for him he was nowhere to be found. I refuse to judge her. There are so many times I have a "moment" with my children. When they step out of sight I pray, "Please don't let this be my last moment with them." I think you reach a point in motherhood where you stop judging other moms. I admit, before I had kids I did plenty of quiet judging. Quiet planning on how my family and children would be. Well, that planning and judging has gotten quieter and quieter as the years have gone by. I have no place to judge. Yeah, I'm Christian. Judge not! is the council given, right? Sometimes, having a gaggle of children will punch that judging tendency right out of you. Did you know that a group of barracuda is called a battery? Well, maybe I shouldn't call my boys a gaggle. How about a battery of boys? That sounds better.