One of the global outreach publications that I love (Missions Catalyst) asked a question a couple months ago about how moms can be mobilizers. I loved spending some time thinking about it and wanted to keep those thoughts here for the future. This is a slightly edited and expanded version of my original comment on their post.
I feel lucky that both Good Cop and I grew up with parents who supported global outreach. It gives us a head start as we make our own family decisions about our worldview and the importance of cross-cultural relationships. So, here are my hopes and dreams for raising our kids intentionally.
– Have missionary friends. When I was growing up my parents financially supported many missionaries and we would get together with them when they were around. We grew up thinking:
1) it was normal for some people to live in other countries so that everyone in the world could hear about Jesus,
2) it was normal to financially support missionaries, and
3) missionaries aren’t superhuman, they’re just people.
Good Cop’s family did the same. We have missionary friends and I’m glad that the Bluebird will grow up knowing them.
– Talk about world events with a mobilizer’s perspective. The news is full of opportunities to learn about the world and what God is doing, and resources like Missions Catalyst help to round out the picture. As a teacher wannabe, this really excites me. I want to have conversations by our globes and big maps when something comes up on tv, radio, podcast or video. It’ll be great to work on my geography with the excuse of teaching them!
– Attend a good church. We love our church and their focus on local *and* global outreach, not one or the other. There will be lots of opportunities to serve locally and globally as the kids get older. Our pastors value global outreach and they go on regular short-term trips to visit the missionaries we’re connected to. On top of that, we’re always pushed to grow deeper in our personal and collective faith through worship, teaching, serving, and small groups.
– Celebrate other cultures. I have a Pinterest board with books I want our kids to read, local or regional events I want to attend, ideas for how we can celebrate different holidays, and programs that might be useful (like http://www.postcrossing.com or http://www.littlepassports.com). We plan to travel as much as we can (Bluebird has a passport already and has been out of the country). And there are so many great blogs and resources for learning about things and places we won’t encounter.
– Prepare our kids to fulfill their calling. I want them to grow up with the support and tools to understand how and why God created them. I want them to have relationships with other adults who will encourage them, mold them, and draw out things that mom and dad can’t. I want them to have friends who don’t look like them or didn’t grow up in the same culture. I want them to be brave when God asks something big and to be tender toward those who don’t know him. I want them to know that God loves us like crazy and that he blesses us so that the world will know him. I want them to know that his blessing doesn’t usually mean a nicer house, more money, or a smooth road through life, but that it’s much more valuable than those things. I don’t want them to be surprised by suffering but to look for God’s presence in it.