I’m so excited about this new link-up. It’s a chance to write about and share how your kids are learning that’s not from a text book. What they are learning in the real world.
You know what problem I ran into? I got so excited about all of the different things I could write about my brain froze. I had all of these ideas that wanted to burst out.
I thought about chores, and how that teaches so much, from responsibility and just being prepared for the real world.
Then I thought about how I’m watching a friend’s child this week while the boys were at camp, and how much Princess is learning about having a roommate this week.
Then I realized I could write about the boys heading off to camp for a week, and how much they grow and learn while there.
Or the week before when they stayed at their grandparents for a week. That’s a totally different experience.
But, what I finally decided to do was:
letting your kids serve others and all I’ve learned from it.
Last night I went and talked to a room full of 50 or so kids about participating in the Great Adventure about my experience doing it almost 20 years ago when I was in high school. Why did I give up my summer to spend a week training, then a week teaching Backyard Bible Clubs, then a week of sports camps, and finally a week in Mexico doing Bible clubs and sports camps? That’s a month out of my summer?
Because serving others changed my life for the better.
I made my best friends there, the ones who’ve stuck around for 20 years through the good and the bad. The ones who were in my wedding. The ones who cried with me when my Dad died. The ones who put me in their wedding. The ones who I cried for months and still cry because he died.
Because serving others taught me how to teach others.
After my first Great Adventure I was sure I wanted to teach. And I did, for 2 years I taught in public schools, then I had kids and now I teach Sunday School, and my own kids. That became cemented in me that first year when I was learning about serving others.
Because serving others teaches responsibility and many other values
To even go to Basic Training we first had to memorize our first Gospel presentation which had about 10 verses in it. To this day I can still say all of those verses and teach that presentation in my sleep. I’ve used it with everyone from a 3 year old kid at Rock the Rock to adults (in a slightly modified form). I learned how to lead a team of my peers and shepherd them in following a plan.
Because serving others showed me how blessed I am
For the last half of Basic Training we went up to Waco and stayed and taught in the projects there. We slept 3 girls to 2 twin mattresses, we couldn’t flush the toilets while someone was taking a shower because the sewage would come back up. We went to “the Projects,” a housing area in Waco and the kids cussed us out. The “grass” was covered in glass because people just threw broken bottles out not caring where it landed.
Then I went to Mexico, and half the kid didn’t have shoes. The plumbing was so inadequate you couldn’t flush toilet paper because it would back up the toilets. We were limited to 3 minute showers because there was so little water, and so many girls there.
Because of serving others I can give an answer for why I believe in Jesus
We spent every night at the parks telling people why we believed. I had an hour long conversation with a man in my very broken Spanish and his very broken English about why we were wearing dresses. I can assure you it wasn’t for the fashion statements, but we were doing as all Paul said and “becoming all things to all people.” The church we were staying at believed girls should wear dresses or skirts, so we did. We ran and played in those skirts. Because of that summer when I run into someone who disagrees with me on any topic I can explain my position without getting mad or upset and WHY I believe.
When you’re attempting to describe these summers to others they sound crazy. Why would you give up all of that for a summer spent in heat, little sleep, few showers, and horrible food.
It’s created a legacy for my kids to participate in. They’ve got to help hand out invitations, they’ve helped prepare food. They’ve helped ready pre-k curriculum. If you’re in the Austin area and this has peaked your interest you should check it out some time, here’s all of my “Hill Country Bible Church” posts.
But I wouldn’t trade those summers for the world. I’m jealous of the teens about to embark on this exciting journey and of how it will change their lives.