“He’s part of the smart and popular group.” I heard a 5th grader describe his friend this past week. Holy Smokes. I don’t remember thinking about “popularity” in elementary school, although I’m sure it was there somewhere. I remember coming to school and getting incredibly good at the art of twisting my hair so that it stood up without using any gel. Throw a cape on my back, because I was super.
I remember some mornings, waiting out by the road for the bus to pick us up. We’d easily get bored, and want to do something more fun. I remember putting frogs in the mailbox for our postal worker to be surprised by. (She wasn’t happy when she found baked frogs in the mailbox. Ooops. Hot fall days.) I remember playing Ninja Turtles. (I preferred Michaelangelo.) I remember squatting down, pulling my coat down over my knees, while hobbling along the road trying to scare the cars driving by into thinking I was some sort of troll. (Probably not the safest thing I’ve ever done along a highway.)
Looking back on who I was growing up, I think is part of the reason I was totally okay when we began our homeschooling journey. Sure, a lot of homeschool kids can grow up a bit weird. But look at me…public school kids can grow up pretty odd themselves. My kids are certainly going to be unique in this world, scripture pretty much demands it. But their uniqueness is not about simply wearing the moniker “Different”. It’s so much bigger than that.
In fact, it’s too big to fit into an awesome sentence that I can make into bold text, and you can quote me on in some place that gets more internet traffic. I want my kids to live authentic lives of experiencing all that God has created them for. I pray over them daily that they would be filled with so much love, the world will be changed. I believe it’s possible with all that I am (and the even more that I am not), and parent them that way. Whether they go on to become missionaries in foreign lands, moms who raise the next generation to know the love of God, or a female-fronted version of Five Iron Frenzy. In fact, if they could go on to become a female version of Five Iron Frenzy, at least for a little while, I’d be pretty excited. One thing is for sure – they will be unique. I pray they are unique even in the face of consumer-driven Christianity. That they would ask questions, and push the envelope for how God’s Love can be shown, and how the Holiness of God can be lived.
So for now, we’ll continue to build the foundations of a life lived uniquely toward responding to God. We aim to exercise those spiritual muscles on a regular basis. To invite our children to respond to God with us on a regular basis. To train them to listen to His voice. To point out where some things in our world are broken, or don’t make sense. To help their first reflex and knee-jerk reaction to be Love for God & others. And above all of that, because we cannot guarantee what path they’ll take…..we pray. God, use our family to make things different, as you are Different. Amen.