I am a firm believer in today’s blog title, moreso the older I get and the older my kids get. I could sit here now and tell you of literally dozens of times that my kids have done for others over the past three months exactly what their dad and I did for them, but tonight I want to share one specific thing that is blessing me immensely—and I pray that the story will show you that truly what we do for our kids and with our kids gets “played forward” many times over.
Twenty-seven years ago this fall, at the age of twenty-one with a young son and a newly-acquired college degree in education, I (along with my husband) sat out to do something extremely unpopular at that time—and something that I knew very little about except for the information I had gleaned the week before from two books by Dr. Raymond Moore. We homeschooled my younger (eighth grade) sister who was struggling in school. Now this story isn’t really about me, but about another twenty-one year old girl who is about to embark on a homeschooling adventure of her own.
Fast forward to tomorrow—the first day that one of my children will be a homeschool teacher. And just like her parents before her, she will not be homeschooling her own children. (She and her husband do not have children yet.) She is homeschooling a family of four kids whose mother died suddenly in the spring. (See my post about her death at http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/04/day-one-hundred-two-inspirations-from.html .)
I have watched Cami with incredible pride (and tears of joy for her heart and many, many tears of sorrow for this family’s loss) prepare for tomorrow—the big day that school begins in her “nanny” children. I have watched her come alongside this family and do literally dozens of things that her dad and I did for her. From her recipe and meal plans (and cooking alongside a different child each day) to her efficient chore chart to her cleaning blitzes with them to their colorful, inviting daily school checklists. From fun times at the park to swimming days from table games to movies on the wall. I have watched her humbly receive guidance from another experienced mom who is laying out lesson plans for Cami in a few subjects—and observed her pouring her heart into these children whom God has entrusted to her for several hours each week day. I see her laugh with the kids and jokingly threaten them with “more school” as they talk about their days together.
And then I realize, once again in a dramatic way, that our children will do for others what we do for them. That they truly “learn what they live.” Whether it is homeschooling, Bible and character training, heart-reaching, fun family times, fond memories, or special gifts. Or, whether it is meanness, lack of understanding, selfishness, sin, or missing relationship. They learn exactly what they live—and they will do, someday in some way, to others and for others exactly what has been done to and for them.
I pray that my children will forget all of my mistakes, anger, and harshness but remember—and do for others—only the good they had in their growing up years. That they will learn only the positive things that they have lived. And that I can do and be what God wants me to do and be as I finish this parenting race (of children, anyway) over the next ten years.
And I pray for this precious family this school year—as an adorable little girl works through fifth grade math and fifth grade emotions without her mama, as their young son has that important thirteenth birthday, as an amazing daughter turns sweet sixteen, and as their oldest graduates from high school, blessed by the eleven years her mother spent educating her. I know that Cami will not take the place of their mom—nobody could and Cami wouldn’t even try---but I pray that she will be a blessing to this family in phenomenal ways as she does for them the very things that have been done for her.