Tonight we started the celebration of my daughter's birthday which is tomorrow. We love pretending we are in England, one of our dream places to visit, so we went to dinner at a restaurant called "The Sixpence Pub" in downtown Savannah. It has the authentic feel of an English pub. Bwah ha ha ha! I know that sounds ridiculous doesn't it because we have never seen the inside of an authentic English pub aside from what we have seen on TV. But suffice it to say that it makes us think we are in an authentic pub. My daughter is turning 11 tomorrow. That is when it struck me. I have a 19 year old who is all of the following: A successful campaign manager to a candidate for a statewide position, something that is virtually unheard of, yet there it is and he also managed student projects for a gubernatorial candidate, 2 senators, and a Congressman in Arkansas through a company he started to protect the interest of a national non-profit organization. He has 3.9 GPA in college, he has been hired by said non-profit company to travel for the next 6 months directing programs in at least 10 states, he is an Eagle Scout, can play 2 instruments great including the bagpipes and can at least pull a song out of 3 more instruments. He was homeschooled, rides 4 wheelers, has a redneck truck, works with his Dad on his shrimp boat and can quote CS Lewis, JRRToilken and the Bible like a theologian. He also picks on his sisters who are about 7 - 12 years younger than him and is a mentor to several young men. He can sew costumes and sings out loud, drives crazy (which I don't approve of but obviously was not a good role model) and was saved at age 6.
I could go on and on listing his awards and accomplishments but you get the idea. He reads his sisters The Hobbit and A Christmas Carol because he loves the stories and they do too. He taught them to sword fight when the youngest was 2. He is my Nanny. My daughters love him and feel safe with him. My girls are avid Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans, my oldest loves to read biographies and mysteries. They love to travel and will jump in the car and go anywhere. I woke them up one night last year the day after Christmas and said we are going to New York, 22 hours away to see snow. They rolled out bed and jumped in the car and asked if the dog could come! They love museums and art shows, well the youngest likes it if she has a kids area in the art museum! They build cities and towns for their American Girl dolls and invent plays to perform for them.
As I looked at my youngest in the rest room of the English pub, she asked me something, I don't remember what, but it made me realize that I have given my children a very different upbringing than I had and even very different from most people I know. They have been raised to explore and dig into everything and anything that interest them. Although in our homeschool they have to do school, we do it differently, depending on what I need to do that day, so they learn flexibility and are not chained to a routine. I have always heard that children need and love routine and maybe that is true, but I see in my children creativity and curiosity that seems to be lacking in the kids I see that have a very structured life of get up , do school, do activity, go home, play video games, eat dinner, go to bed. repeat.
My kids are not allowed to play video games or computer games. They can watch movies, but not TV shows except cooking shows, or Scooby Doo. We have 3 computers in the house and they have facebooks and emails, carefully monitored. I have a program a man in our former church gave to me when my son was about 13 or so, that can pull every image that has ever been on the computer and you can ask it to display them. I told my son we had that and I have not ever had a problem with porn with him. Of course I told him regularly, like once a week in a loving and semi non violent way, what porn was (Satan's best line of attack to males), and its purpose (to destroy sex for the man, so that he became perverted and sordid) and that Satan hated him so he wants him to be addicted to sex and porn. My son has had the opportunity to mentor to young boys and young men about the dangers of porn and his heart breaks to see them stumble around in it. I found out that he was talking to others about staying away from it about 2 years ago and knew that it was God's grace that saved him from that pit. God has put his hand on my children. He has allowed me to give them a really eclectic childhood that has produced these kids who love to fish and argue on Capital Hill. They can converse with rednecks, Congressmen, scholars and theologians.
Wow, I am so thankful to God for this gift. I stand amazed that He has allowed me to realize my dream of showing my kids so many different ways of life. My children told me one day last week as we were once again going to some activity downtown, that I was a Fun Mom. Now that is great.