As a missionary mom there are two different paths on how to raise children. Neither one is easier or better, people have to decide for themselves and both have pros and cons. Each family is different.
The first, one-parent stays at home being the primary caretaker homeschooling, homemaking, and inviting people into their home. The second, both parents are fully active in the ministry outside of the home and the children right by their side.
My girls are getting older and my oldest at school age. My husband and I have to make this decision. For the past years we have flipped flopped on both styles and maybe that will still be possible depending on the ministry that we are involved in. However, I would like to be somewhat consistent.
My first fear to overcome is the idea of homeschooling. I was not homeschooled. I don’t have a degree in it. It is easy to doubt that I won’t be good enough or that I can’t teach. As I have learned, that is not true. (I teach all the time for youth and adults). God has given me all the abilities, God will show me what styles of teaching is best for my girls.
For me, my family is my first ministry. I began to pounder what that meant for us as a family. We will never be a ‘normal’ family, however we could have a ‘normal’ for us. We believe that God has called the family to ministry not ministry to just the parents. So as I thought about this, it would be easy for me to separate myself from what my husband is doing thus making it daddy’s work.
I want my children to learn how to relate to people of all ages, social classes and cultures. I want my children to learn how to pray and intercede. I think about all the things my children could experience by translating at a young age to people twice their age. Seeing miracles and ministering to people of all ages. Hearing stories from other missionaries from around the globe of what God is doing.
To be honest, my fear is not having a typical daily schedule that is predictable. It will stretch me to be more flexible and in that allow God to move. I am good at being in control. It scares the crap out of me to not be. However, I know that is what is best for my family and for myself.
Yes, I still struggle with this. My reality is far from my picture of the perfect, confident mom. I will make mistakes. I am probably swallowing down my fear and pretending it isn’t there instead of facing it. I am still learning to name that fear, learn about it, face it, give it to God and let it go.
We will be that family who does homeschooling at all times of the day and year. We will be teaching life skills at all times. Traveling all over the world with our children. Some people will tell us that we are not putting our children first. Let me say, that we are and we have thought long and hard about this.