That "Who Is The Grown Up?" question came to my mind during last week's spring break adventure/mission trip to the Appalachian region of Kentucky. I've been doing a few posts about it this week, because it gave me a lot to think about and realize. Among them including:
Revelation #2: Who Is The Grown Up? It Just Might Be The Kids!
The eight middle school girls (two of whom were my daughters) who went on the trip last week showed an amazing amount of maturity in many ways. And, for me, my girls especially. But, this past week, my girls really encouraged me by their behavior and their attitudes. And I'm starting to think that they might--just might--not end up as drop-out, drug-addicted, criminals with a mile-long juevie-record before they turn 18. (Which is actually a commentary on my maternal equivalent to hypochondria--my fear that I'm ruining my kids by bad parenting!)
During our journey, LittleD and BabyD demonstrated a great deal of maturity in dealing with unfamiliar people and less-than-pleasant situations. All the while with grace, helpful hearts and good attitudes.
Not once did they complain that when they were outside working in 40-degree rain to dig and set stair railing in what looked (and smelled!!) to be raw sewage seeping to the surface of the yard of one family's house trailer. Nor did they complain, even after three straight days of priming and painting the interior walls of a newly constructed church that was not yet heated. Nary a word while helping with a project to restore a woman's totally trashed house trailer that her druggie ex-husband nearly destroyed when she kicked him out. (I'll likely comment more on that situation when I have time to blog one more time about our trip in general.) They didn't even grumble when they spent tedious hours sorting, organizing and moving "stuff" in a warehouse that supplies building materials to underprivileged people at no charge.
The girls were excited to attend Wednesday night Bible study at the little pole barn where the congregation currently meets that will soon be moving into the new church building. They were glad to have the chance to meet some of the people who would benefit from their efforts. They really wanted to put a face on the community and get to know the folks down there. Both girls worked hard all week.
Highpoint about LittleD: Her history teacher, who was part of the trip leadership, went out of his way to tell me how hard she worked, with little instruction and no continuing supervision when she was on his project team one day.
Highpoint about BabyD: When she was leaving with a project team to dig the smelly post holes for staircase railings in the rain (and it was 40 degrees), I asked if she was going to she was going to be okay and warm enough to do that task. "No, but I'm on a mission trip, and it's not about what I want to do," she said.
The Sunday School class I'm taking right now at our church has a parenting focus. During our last class, we were challenged to consider what we, as parents, are doing right--instead of constantly beating ourselves up for "blowing it." I admit I beat myself up a lot. But the girls really were an encouragement to me--not that I'm doing anything particularly right in my parenting, except living by the grace of God.
My girls (unlike some unnamed other teens on the trip!) actually know how to wash dishes by hand. And they know how to clean a sink and scrub a toilet. (Kudos to BabyD who didn't bat an eye about doing potty duty on clean up day at the camp!) I feel good that, while they are not so enthusiastic about chores at home, my girls can--and will--survive because they've learned the basics of life.
Last week showed me just how my (not-so-baby-anymore) girls are growing up to be intelligent, talented and hard-working young women. And, considering their hard-working attitudes (compared to my own whining about the cold), I realized they just might (almost!) be grown ups!