I have a friend who reminds me from time to time that is important to let people know about what my sons are doing. Why? [I think] to encourage you to keep on goin’. Did I do everything perfectly? Of course not! But, in spite of me, they are happy, productive members of society and are pursuing their dreams.
Ian is 23 and is an alumnus of Asbury University. He got his BS in Communication Arts and has a minor in art. He is gainfully employed with a company using his degree here in Cincinnati and lives in a house with his cousin. While I am thrilled for him, I am sad that he isn’t here to keep us laughing and wondering. He has a crazy sense of humor which requires some explaining to me on a regular basis. It is so nice to have him here locally and I selfishly hope he will stay in Cincinnati.
Malcolm is 20 and is living in eastern Germany. He is in charge of starting a fair trade coffee shop/ art gallery in a small town called Herrnhut. How did he arrive at that? It’s a long story that I will share at a later date, but he is with a missions organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). This volunteer organization is focused on helping people who are in need around the world. The money that the coffee shop will generate will help to support a ministry called Pick A Pocket. (No, not pickpockets!)
This particular ministry picks a pocket to fill, not from which to take. They help provide shelter and education to boys and girls in Ethiopia who live in deplorable conditions. These children sleep in the dumps and eat what they find. You can imagine how awful that would be! The other area of ministry that Malcolm’s wanting to help with the proceeds from the shop is the plight of those who are caught in the chains of human trafficking. The art gallery is going to be filled with photographs and art work that the students from YWAM’s Discipleship Training School’s Marriage of the Arts have created while on humanitarian trips to these dumps and red light districts of various countries.
One thing we have always stressed with our sons is to dream and go with what you think God is telling you. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that each of them are taking a different path than the other. That’s what I love about homeschooling, encouraging your children in the areas that you see are their strengths. You can be their cheerleader and provide opportunities for them to investigate.
Ian is a wonderful writer and artist, is extremely creative, and has an eye for design. I am glad I signed him up for various literature and writing classes and had him take art from several different instructors and programs while in junior high and high school. He is using these academic areas daily at his job as he edits manuals and books, creates magazine ads, works on social media projects, and sets up video conferences. He is fulfilling his dream of being a graphic designer.
Malcolm loves coffee, people, and is tender-hearted towards those who are victims of injustice. For his senior year we visited various coffee shops and he had to blog about them. He also did a 6 week internship with a fantastic homeschool dad who owned a coffee shop, learning from him about not only coffee, but life. He always wanted to start a coffee shop, it just happened sooner than we would have thought. I thought he’d take a “gap year” and return after 7 months, but he will be gone for at least 2 1/2 years at this point. He is pursuing his dream with all of his heart.
So, what do you see your child(ren) gravitating towards? What are things that interest them? Children have giftings and talents that begin to be evident early in their lives. Ian was constantly doodling on his papers to the point that you could not see the math problems because of artwork. Malcolm has had a tender heart and a desire to help others since he was young. I am not sure where the coffee aspect began, but I am going to blame it on the java that was readily available at our church on Sunday mornings.
Provide opportunities for your child(ren) to explore. It could be crafts, legos, online games, websites, clubs, scouts, AHG, 4-H, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Does that seem overwhelming? Just start with one area, explore that, and see what comes next. Remember to encourage the dreams they have as it will lead to more ideas and possibilities.
The picture I have here for my post is what I made for Malcolm when he was feeling discouraged about envisioning his dream of a coffee shop. An interesting thing occurred after he left to begin the coffee shop. Ian had to move back with us after he graduated from college and he ended up staying in that room! It was a reminder for him not to give up on his dream while he looked for a job in his major. I love when God does such things, don’t you?