09.28.12

Four Awesome Kids

Posted in Ancona, culture, family, kids, school at 6:18 am

I’m going to try not to sound like the doting father this month, but I’m afraid that I’m not going to be very successful.

The kids all started school a couple of weeks ago. The oldest two are in eighth grade, their last year of middle school. Our youngest son is in fifth grade, in his last year of elementary school. Our youngest is in her second year of preschool. We have a tradition of taking first-day-of-school pictures on the balcony before dropping them off. This year it seems like I had to point the camera a lot higher to get my growing kids in the frame.

They aren’t just growing physically, for sure. The oldest are growing to be responsible students, already preparing for their oral and written exams to graduate into high school. Our youngest son still has a wild streak in him, but it’s becoming more tempered, less rebellious as he matures. Our four-year-old went to school this year with scarcely more than a wave and, unlike last year, no tears at all.

It’s a joy to see them grow spiritually as well. Our oldest son has a profound sense of justice and intuitively knows right from wrong. Our oldest daughter amazes me by so often sticking up for the underdog. Trey has a sense of compassion that is willing to endure his classmates’ teasing. Francesca often goes to bed telling me how much she loves Jesus.

Those of you who have been with us from the beginning know how much I worried about how the kids would handle an overseas move. I always thought that if Heidi and I went nuts from the transition then it was our own fault – we made the decision to go. But the kids were just along for the ride, innocent bystanders in following mom and dad’s call to serve in Ancona.

And time and time again God has shown me that I have nothing to worry about. My kids aren’t American kids, for sure. And they’re not quite Italian kids either. But that’s OK. My prayer is that having feet in two cultures will make them citizens of God’s kingdom – it certainly will last a lot longer than our earthly kingdoms.

It seems that God knew that helping all four kids to flourish in Ancona would make it possible for us to minister here more effectively. Thanks for praying for us as a family!