Last week, Rebel Hill, wrote an excellent post on “The Wife on Deputation.” I would like to spring board off one of her points, about raising children on deputation. When we started raising support, just over a year ago, my idea of raising kids on the road, began to quickly change. In the 200 churches we have been in, we have met some wonderful people, and our boys have made life long friends! Deputation is an adventure! Raising kids on the road is quite an adventure as well! No day is ever the same as the previous. Our schedule and location is constantly changing. Though I still have much to learn, here are a few things that I have experienced along the way, that might be a help to you.
1) Learning to Be Flexible With Your Time.
Time is one of those things that we can never get back; learning to make the most of it is very important. When it comes to homeschooling our oldest, Peyton, we are often improvising the when and where. Since we aren’t always in a classroom setting, we try to take advantage of educational opportunities such as; taking a tour through Gettysburg or walking through the USS North Carolina. Not only are they learning, but it is also good quality time being spent with each other!
2. Let Them Be Kids.
We expect our children to behave and sit quietly during church so that we can accomplish what we are there to accomplish. My kids are not perfect angels, but we try not to set the bar so high, to where they are just going to fail. Let them be kids! They will mess up. Just be there to correct them with love.
This leads me to my next point…
3. Be Consistent!
I’m going to go ahead and say that I am probably not the best when it comes to this subject; but when it comes to discipline, we have to be consistent! We cannot expect our children to obey 100% of the time, if we are not willing to discipline when needed, 100% of the time. If we aren’t careful, our husbands can start to feel like the bad guy. Discipline is a burden that we must share with them.
The most important lesson I have learned while raising our children on deputation, is to:
4. Cultivate within our children, an appetite for the things of God.
We are in anywhere from 12-15 different churches every month. We are constantly asked the question, “How do your children do while being in church all the time?” I can honestly say that Peyton loves church! He loves getting to go to the different Sunday schools and children’s church. After services we like to talk with him about the message; what we heard, and what it was about. I can say that that has helped Peyton because quite often he asks, “Can we talk about Jesus?” Just as being faithful to church, our daily bible reading and private prayer life, is a discipline that I daily work on; it is one that needs to be invested in our children as well. Pastor Gardner often says, “You are only more of tomorrow, of what you are today.” If we desire that our children serve God as adults, we must begin now to challenge and train them, to desire the things of God.
I could go on and on about the lessons I have learned while traveling, and I greatly desire to continue to grow and learn. These lessons are ones that I need to be constantly reminded of, and accept the fact that it is the process and not the product in which we must focus. I hope that this has been an encouragement to continue to grow, as we raise our children, in a very non traditional life!