Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hope For The Future

I had the privilege this weekend of spending time with several thousand family members. They are an awesome group of people. Friendly, helpful, outgoing, caring, full of great advice, humble and loving. I love when we get together each year and find our time together way too short. We stay up late, get up early and talk non stop. Every year we add new friends and celebrate with old friends. It is a blessed gathering that never fails to lift my spirits, infuse me with energy, remind me of my limitations and need for the Lord, and most of all instill hope in the future. Our reunion is the annual FPEA homeschooling convention in Orlando, FL

I found my greatest source of hope this year in a couple of unlikely places. All day on a beautiful sunny Thursday at a resort hotel with a cool water play area that had four slides and dump buckets, with movies and other fun activities available, there were students who chose to attend a seminar on being an entrepreneur. Kids ages 12-18 spent eight hours devouring the words of a successful businessman of 30 who had been homeschooled and offered up insights and inspiration to these eager learners. These kids learned how to start their own business, how to market, how to use ebay and paypal. They were given invaluable lessons to help them in their future, and it was obvious to all there that they were eager to put their new knowledge into practice.

The second place of hope was in a small partitioned off area at the front of the food court were about 15 tables. Each had a display of wares available. The variety of items for sale was remarkable. No two tables had the same products. Everything was well made and affordable. What gave me the greatest hope, though, was the people behind the tables. The owners of each of these businesses were kids. Students set up their wares, marketed, interacted with customers and made sales.

These students gave me hope for the future of our country and they should give you that same hope. They are not ones who are going to be sitting around in parks complaining that no one has given them a job for which they are qualified. They are the ones who are going to be rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty in order to start their own business. In spite of the difficulties that government regulations create for them, they are going to give it their all. Every one of these kids that I talked with had more than one idea for a company. I know that one failure isn't going to make them quit. These students are our future. They are ambitious, excited, and ready to work hard to make their dreams come true. And I, for one, am excited to see them take on the task. We need these kids and their example. Thank you young entrepreneurs and FPEA for the hope that you have shown me for the future of America.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where Did Those Great Kids Come From?

I have been so blessed with some very wonderful children. There are many times that I want to take credit for how well they have turned out. After all, I have devoted my life to making a home and raising our children. Truth be told, I am most likely more responsible for their flaws than anything, and I am most grateful to a great and glorious God who takes my mistakes, ignorance, pride and selfishness and manages to use those things to produce young men and women who make me proud to be called "mom".

Princess had it rough. As our oldest, she was the test product. I chuckle when I watch the new Nokia commercial for their smart phone. That is kind of how I view our parenting. We tested out theories. We practiced parenting. We learned right along with her what it meant to discipline, be consistent, train and love. There were so many ups and downs because, to be absolutely honest, I had no idea what I was doing. The whole thing was new and different for me, and I was just beginning to learn to turn to God and the Bible when I needed answers.

Dude and Mr. Awesome didn't have it too easy either. Two at the same time always meant sharing. They didn't get one on one time. They didn't get undivided attention. Nothing was ever theirs alone. Too often they were treated to the same discipline and teaching methods even though they are very different people. Dealing with two at the same time also meant a shorter fuse for me. I snapped more often than I would ever want to admit.

Sweet Mo got the short end of the stick. She was so willing to go along with whatever was happening that I forgot to treat her like the young lady she is. She ended up with trucks and footballs as her toys instead of baby dolls and tea parties. Her desire to please her parents means that I didn't parent her at intentionally as I should have.

Squishy has had his own hurdles. It is never easy to be the baby. I am older and worn out. It is hard work to discipline consistently. I am tired of teaching the same lessons over and over. By now, I want my kids to know to obey, tell the truth, be caring, gentle and selfless without having to constantly remind them. I know that I have ignored his needs too often because I am selfish and just want a little time to myself.

I have tried. Like most of you, I want to be a great mom. I want to lead my children as they grow closer to God. I want them to display the fruits of the Spirit. I want them to succeed in this life, following the path the Lord has designed for them. I know that because I am a sinful woman, I haven't tried hard enough. I have failed to do all that I can possibly do to reflect Christ to my children. Fortunately, the God of the Bible is gracious. He takes my mistakes and my failings as a mom and uses them to mold some pretty incredible human beings. I eagerly look forward to what else He will do with them. In the meantime, I will continue to muddle along as their mom, making mistakes, loving them and doing what I can; knowing the God will use it all for good in their lives. I'd really like to take the credit for the amazing children in my family, but really it all does belong to He who is able to work good things until the day of Christ Jesus. May He continue to work in me and in them.