That Time I Shipped My Kids Off to a Foreign Country and Partied Like A Rock Star!

It’s been a while. Too long of a while. For that, I’d like you to join me in thanking and applauding the following:

  • Fearlessness. I eventually got off my back side, quit dreaming about doing stuff and actually started doing stuff. Out of that came Selena’s Write, Mane-N-Curl and a host of other goodies, I’ve got cooking in the works, including a novel.
  • My crazy-awesome-better-eat-your-wheaties-cause-this-ain’t-for-punks kind of schedule. As if I had nothing better else to do, I began working out regularly (and by working out I mean attempting to survive P90x), volunteering more, teaching more, giving away more and catering to self less. I began loving on others, encouraging complete strangers and allowing flexibility and adaptability to light the way. And lastly,
  • Personal reflection and assessment. I wasn’t making the time to ask myself the right questions and so everything, but the right things, were influencing my actions. I got all over that with lightening speed.

So, now you know why I’ve been gone. Now, let me tell why I shipped my kids off.

I wish I could say my reasons were entirely noble. Perhaps they are. Some of you may agree; others not so much. Here’s how it went down.

I’m not rich. I’m not even well to do. I work. I pay bills. I save. And I intentionally work to build good character in my children. So, naturally when they began to complain about having to share things, needing a 2nd bathroom and not having an iPhone, it was time to take action. I’d been hearing the complaints for months and frankly, I was sick of it. Truth be told, I was a little taken aback. This “I’m owed more” attitude was what I expected from teens whose parents dropped the ball. Ha! Nothing like an “in your face” moment to help you see straight or to knock you off your pedestal. That’s when truth hit.

If I want them to learn character or values, I’ve got to jump on opportunities that will teach them character and values. I mean, you never learn how to swim, if you don’t get in the water, right? So, I signed them up to go to Haiti on a mission’s trip with my church. First, they weren’t happy. Next, they didn’t believe I’d actually go through with it. Then, they expected me to go with them. Ha! Um, no. Last, I made them do all the prep work to get it going and I wouldn’t let them off the hook.

So, on August 14 at 5:34 a.m., they boarded a plane–for the first time in their lives–and  flew to Haiti where they worked as a team to serve children in an orphanage during its first ever Bible Camp! They painted buildings and met people with less possessions who had more joy than they could fathom. Did they learn anything? Time will tell. They don’t touch down until tonight. But I’m willing to bet the experience taught them more than they bargained for.

I, in turn, partied like the opportunity would never come again! I went to the movies. I pampered myself with the kinds of things that make the heart squee. As a solo-parent, I haven’t had an extended break from the duo since, well, never. Maybe a day or two, but never an entire week; and yours truly took full advantage of it.

If your children are acting like you owe them everything, find an opportunity that will allow them to learn about the importance of serving others. Encourage and insist that they participate in service programs that could help them focus less on themselves and more on those who need help. You may not see the change overnight, and that’s okay. Maturity is a process and in due time, the seeds of all they’ve learned will begin to sprout.

Would you send your teens out of the country without you?

Thanks for visiting.

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