God allowed Steve and me to give birth to, nurture, feed, clothe, potty-train, put braces on the teeth of, send to college, and generally rear three amazing children. He loaned them to us for a few years before they flew away. Those three didn't just fly, they SOARED.
Much to our amazement and joy, all three of them are gifted, dedicated teachers, which means they have an opportunity to influence many from their respective classrooms.
Firstborn Laura homeschools her two children. Plus, she's a full-time math instructor through Purdue University Global, meaning her students could literally be living all over the world and be under her tutelage. And, for the next couple of months, she's filling a maternity leave position for a math teacher at Darlington School, a prestigious private school in Rome, Georgia where she and her family live.
Middle child Matt teaches/preaches the Bible every Sunday to the congregation of The Church at West Franklin in Franklin, TN, both those in the pews and those watching via internet. He has also taught courses at Williamson College and Belmont University, and this semester will teach a course for Southeastern Seminary at one of their extension campuses at Brentwood Baptist.
Youngest child Julie has ten children. She has been actively homeschooling 8 of them throughout the past 15 years and will start the other two when they get just a little bit older. She teaches them academics, but she also teaches through gardening, tending animals, cooking, music, Bible stories, and generally doing life with a large family.
As I've watched hundreds of my friends post First-Day-of-School photos on Facebook and talked to teachers who have worked hard to prepare for the first days of their students, it has caused me to reflect on what exactly Steve and I taught Laura, Matt, and Julie during their formative years.
There are some very obvious things we did NOT teach them.
We did NOT teach Laura how to solve math equations. Fortunately, she had some good teachers who did that, and she was an astute learner.
We did NOT teach Laura how to maneuver the technological world she inhabits in order to teach college-level courses online.
We did NOT teach Matt how to hold a congregation's rapt attention as he preaches.
We most certainly did NOT teach him how to conjugate Greek or Hebrew verbs.
We did NOT teach Julie how to go through natural childbirth numerous times, nor did we teach her how to breastfeed one child with two more in diapers, and six others hungry for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We did NOT teach her how to milk goats and make soap from that milk.
As I said, Steve and I are amazed at these adult children of ours.
We readily admit the things we did NOT teach them, but here are some things I HOPE WE TAUGHT THEM. Somehow. Maybe through osmosis. And maybe some were "caught" rather than specifically taught.
I hope we taught them to love God and His Word.
I hope we taught them that every person needs Jesus.
I hope we taught them that they live in a big world full of people from all backgrounds and cultures, but that God loves every one of them.
I hope we taught them what a long-lasting, love-filled marriage looks like between 2 very imperfect people.
I hope we taught them the value of getting an education and of remaining a lifelong learner.
I hope we taught them to enjoy their spouses, their children, and every day they are given to spend with them.
I hope we taught them to laugh.....even if our antics and missteps were the cause of the laughter.
The final grades on those "hopes" aren't in yet. Perhaps we won't know until heaven what the end results are. But, I do realize that as I sit here typing this morning, the things I HOPE we taught them are probably having an influence on many other people through our children. Sobering. Convicting.
Do you have children still in your home? Let me encourage you to be very deliberate about what you are teaching them.
Do you have adult children with whom you have regular contact? Let me encourage you to be their biggest cheerleader.
Do you have grandchildren? Remember they are being taught by you, too.
Luke 6:40 -- "The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher."
Proverbs 9:9 -- "Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning."
Proverbs 22:6 -- "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."