Friday, April 16, 2010

Planes, trains and automobiles

In 6 hours today we went from taxi to plane to subway train to car. For 'small town folks' we seem to have gotten a great deal of use out of public transportation. In the process of all of our travels this week I realized something...I love the people watching and the true experience in diversity it offers.

I am probably a cab driver's nightmare because I like to ask them questions about themselves. They always seem to have a back story. Many of the drivers in DC seem to be immigrants, so the conversations were frequently very educational. Having just studied Ethiopia in January, K was thrilled that she got to meet two REAL Ethiopian men. After all of her class' emphasis on the poverty of Ethiopia, she seemed surprised to see them in a different light.

I adore living in a small town, but I do think it lends itself to experiencing a pretty homogeneous community. One of the great life lessons of travel is the exposure to people from all different walks of life--and what better snapshot of that is there than public transportation?

I am about halfway through John Rosemond's Parenting by the Book right now. Overall, I find it affirming and positively challenging--but there have been a few parts that have made me wince in conviction. I have highlighted a couple of sections for further prayer and conversation with my husband. Chapter Seven made some very strong points in regards to Proverbs 22:6 and Proverbs 29:18---the 'way' we should be training up our children to go and the vision necessary to get us there.

"Parents should aim their child rearing at a target that lies some distance in the future. One's aim in this regard should be unwavering. Every parent should be aiming at the same target: an adult of right character, morals and ethics who loves God. This adult is a responsible and compassionate citizen, a devoted spouse and a parent who 'passes it on.' Maintaining that aim requires that a parent hold in the forefront of his 'parent mind' a clear vision of the type of person he wants his child to be when his child is thirty years old--a vision to which he regularly refers."

One of the traits in my vision for my children at 30 is an ability to really love others with a love beyond themselves: all people. I pray they will grow up interested in cultivating friendships across socioeconomic and ethnic lines. I don't want them to make assumptions and lump people in boxes based on preconceived notions. In a smaller town where many people, unfortunately, fall into stereotypes this is going to take some intentional work.*

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

"Where there is no vision the people get out of hand." Proverbs 29:18 NJB

*By the way, I really love our town and the people here. No offense or judgement intended...just an observation that it can be really easy to surround yourself with people who look, think and act just like you. I know I am guilty!


MamaBear said...

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm putting it on my list today.

Introducing our children to worlds outside their own has also been one of our parenting goals. We have a state university in our town which has a Friendship Family program. International students are matched with families who spend time with these students on a regular basis. We've hosted girls from India, Korea, and Sri Lanka, and it has been such a joy to watch our children discover new cultures here at home!

I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to participate in a program like this! The rewards are just too many to list ...

Arlene Grimm said...

I have enjoyed seeing all your pix of the trip! My hometown is not far from your fact my parents travel to Rome for cardiac and neurology specialists! So I know what you mean about being able to take your children to other places. It is good for all of us to stretch a bit..see new places and enjoy new experiences. I LOVE John Rosemond...I always recommended him to my preschool parents when I taught preschool. Parenting is not for sissies!!:) Hang in there.

Bill & Jenn said...

Loved hearing your DC adventures. DC was one of my favorite vacation spots as a child-- so many fun (AND FREE!) places to learn history-- I can't wait to take my own children there someday!

And, about having a vision for your children and the adults you want them to become...
Heard the same idea recently from Larry Fowler (of AWANA fame)...He is promoting a book called "Raising a Modern Day Joseph", which is really good and very practical. I was very challenged to think about the fact that we have specific educational goals for our kids (and do the 'work' it takes to achieve them), but do we have specific SPIRITUAL goals for them? And HOW are we working to achieve them? How are we teaching love? Compassion? Generosity? etc. Are we laying the groundwork NOW so that our preschoolers will become the 30-yr-olds we envision? Very interesting to ponder...

Daree said...

The trip to DC looks like it was amazing! Can't wait to hear more about it. I am looking forward to having a "coffee" phone date with you friend or just catching up at lunch in May. Going to camp with lil b all week next week so it might be hard to catch up but know I Love you and am thinking about you!

Melissa said...

We are claiming Proverbs 22:6 for our kids. Of course, a lot of that responsibility is on my shoulders (as the parent).
I'm saddened by seeing so many of the kids I grew up with fall away from the church. Kids who were raised in the church, sent to Christian schools and camps...I know the church doesn't save, but it is an outward indication of the heart. It is something I fear happening to my own children, so I am claiming that verse for them!