I’ve found myself in a new season of life. One characterized by wings, wrestling, tears, and blessing.
Our oldest is in his senior year of high school, and our family is very much engaged in the college journey. It's exciting. . . and emotional. This fall I began to read Carol Kuykendall’s book, “Give Them Wings.” I didn’t make it very far into the book because it seemed every other paragraph put words to my feelings and left me crying. I put it aside. I’ve recently picked it up again and have committed to finishing it. It’s encouraging. As parents, our goal is to successfully launch our children – everything prior has led to this season. And now I ask so many questions. . .
- Have we done enough to lay a strong foundation?
- Have we created an environment where he can make his faith his own and not just a replica of us?
- Have we helped train him in life skills so that he can navigate life?
Realistically, the answer is that we’ve tried, but fallen short. That's hard. I wonder, will he do ok? Will he remain strong in his faith? Will he thrive and not just survive? It seems I’m spending a lot of time looking back as I look forward.
And that reminds me, as a parent of a third-culture kid I’ve felt these things before. I’ve asked important probing questions about the future when making the decision to move our young children overseas. I remember asking. . .
- Will they be healthy?
- Will non-American, traditional schooling equip them with a good education?
- Will they make friends?
- Will we “ruin” them by taking them away from their passport country and its culture?
What I’ve come to realize is that in our decision to move our family overseas, we gave our children wings, and they’ve been soaring since. Our decisions have meant that our children have faced illness, the pain and discomfort of never being fully at home in our passport or host countries, of being schooled in a second language they didn’t originally speak.
Our decisions have also allowed for unbelievable experiences and growth for our oldest: swimming with whale sharks, getting a junior open water diving certificate, learning two languages other than our native English, growing a worldview that encompasses a world much bigger than himself, being in relationship with people in great need and very different from him, engaging in a culture that challenges his faith and values, watching God abundantly and miraculously provide for needs and seeing that He is enough.
These weren’t the “wings” we had been intentional about, but I wonder if they will end up being the “wings” that have had the greatest impact?
About the Author: Sue is the IDEAS Community Life Director for Jordan. Along with her husband and two children, she has lived and worked for over 10 years in Africa and the Middle East.