It can be a daunting thought to wonder what our children will grow up to be or where their interests will take them, especially if we think it all rests on our shoulders. There are many factors that play into those big decisions including personality, interests, talents, environment, and mostly God’s will.
We’ve raised three beautiful big girls with no preconceived ideas of what they would do with their lives but we have prayed for God to lead their paths. We set high expectations for their choices and character. We often said, “If you don’t see mom and dad doing it, then it’s not for you either.” We ate most of our meals together, stayed involved in their school/extra curricular activities, made sure we knew their friends AND their families, and went to church as a family. All these choices as parents gave our girls security and stability to build the foundation of their lives as they stepped out on their own.
Early on we taught them ways of taking care of themselves and helping out within the family. IF they could do it themselves, then by all means just do it. I was teaching full time and anything they could do was a huge deal to me! Because of that responsibility, they were more than ready to handle life outside our home with confidence and success.
We didn’t pray Savannah would grow up to be a mom/teacher but she did and we didn’t pray Amelia would be a gifted artist but she is and we didn’t pray Rosie would end up studying at a huge university with ministry in her heart but she is too.
Along with praying for our girls to chase God’s destiny, we have tried to set examples of what’s important in our lives aligned with God’s path for our family. As they were growing up, we lived in a community where I taught school and most of our friends went to church with us.
I graduated UGA and went right to work teaching as a Kindergarten teacher and loved it very much! The girls were forever watching me work on school stuff in my free time at home. They hated going to the teacher stores with me and I never thought any of them would be teachers… as a matter of fact they said they wouldn’t be. They did love me being in their schools, picking their teachers (some of my best friends), and hanging with me before and after school in my classroom. It was fun for all of us to be together! I guess some of the love for teaching I had rubbed off on Savannah because she too became a middle school teacher and loves it. She’s a wonderful mom and I LOVE watching her with BC.
In the years when they were little, I always kept an art table filled with supplies as well as an art cabinet at their disposal all the time. They were forever drawing, cutting, painting, while I worked on school or scrapbooked with all my supplies too. Art and creativity was a great part of their daily lives along with wonderful art teachers at school and Amelia began to flourish with her natural art ability. She shone above the rest and graduated college with a studio art degree. She is so very talented and loves creating beautiful art to share with others.
Other things I enjoyed was photography, cross stitching, crocheting, reading, and walking. I filled my time with lots of wonderful examples they could follow. In 2004 when Rosie was just 9 years old, we felt God calling us to adopt. She was young enough to be touched by the ministry of adoption and in 2006, all three girls traveled to China with us for EK. It was a life changing trip for all of us as a family.
It was back in the day of NO instant communication… the days of house lines and dial up internet. No texting, no facebook, and no instagram. When in China, we bonded as a new family of 6 and fell in love with our new baby. China changed us all but for Rosie, I think it shaped where her life would lead. She would also travel back with us to get WP in 2011 and came back a very different girl. Much more grown up and focused on what God had in store for her life. I think it was then that a call to ministry of some kind began pulling her soul toward her destiny. She’s still studying and searching but I know God has a very specific plan for her life.
Now what does all this have to do with Inspiring Our Children?
Every thing we do is an example set for our kids to follow especially with little kids watching. If I am sewing, they want to sew. If I am shooting with my camera, they want to learn. If I am reading a book, they are more likely to go choose one for themselves (then interrupt me and ask if I will read to them) ha.
Having activities readily available to kids can help their interests flourish and develop. Last year I began to see SJ take an interest in sewing so for Christmas she got her own machine. She was really good at it too. This newly discovered hobby spilled onto EK and she too LOVES to go to our sewing area and make creation after creation. Now that love is spilling on to EC.
EK loves everything about animals so we make sure she has ample time to spend outside in nature soaking up as much as she can. This past weekend as she was out walking Macy, she found a big brown furry caterpillar which thrilled her to no end. She rushed in SO excited and announced she had been looking for one for a year. She put it in her little caterpillar box, went straight to her desk and began reading everything there was to know about caring for it. Giving her the time and room to chase this interest is huge for her life.
Ways to Inspire Our Kids:
- Model your interests in front of them and if they want to learn, take the time to teach them.
- Keep activities and areas available for free exploration: puzzles, musical instruments, lots and lots of books, game cabinet, etc.
- Encourage interests they have by participating along side them.
- Be available to stoke the ember burning within a child because you never know when one little thing will catch fire.
- Give them the gift of childhood and lots of non scheduled time to pursue what they love.
Once again both EK and SJ have become interested in photography (I wonder why) and ask to try my camera often. NOT going to lie. I was hesitant at first because what happens if they drop it or mess up the settings or a whole list of worries BUT what IF they are a natural and clearly show talent. I wouldn’t know if I didn’t give them a chance.
During Thanksgiving as I desperately wanted that perfect family photo for the Christmas card, SJ showed more interest in using my camera. I took time to show her proper safety rules like always having strap around her neck and being completely on task when holding it. We worked on composition and staging the models~
She was a fast learner and I think her work was notable. Best part was her self confidence shown when she asked I would be featuring her photography on the blog. Why yes SJ, here you go~
There are millions of things your children might pursue and your guidance and encouragement just might be the thing that gets it going.
- Helping in the kitchen may lead to grand chef in the finest of restaurants or a dad that can make a meal
- Sewing stuffed animal clothes may lead to a designer or making clothes for their children one day
- Taking photos may lead to a career in photography or being able to take your family’s photo at Christmas
- Love and knowledge of horses my lead to a ranch in Wyoming or being a veterinarian
Only God can take the little mustard seeds we plant and grow big things from it. Don’t let the time you have with your kids pass unused and wasted. Lead them, trust them, and watch them bloom right before you eyes.
Just look at three of my best friends in the world all grown up and helping us model Jesus to all our littles.
They Inspire ME to be the better version of myself! Go God!
The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you! Luke 17:6