Friday, September 5, 2014

Our kids…back in school

Well, we have finished an amazing summer…and the kids are all back in school for another year. We enjoyed incredible interns, traveled to many English camps to check on things and visit with the teams, and experienced a very successful first JV Slovakia Sports camp. Then we journeyed to Croatia to send our kids to JV Kids' camp (all but Shaylee attended this year).  During their camp, Ed and I vacationed with Shaylee and with other dear JV friends whose oldest children were also at this Kids' camp. I'm not sure which group had more fun: the older kids at their favorite event of the year with the other JV Third Culture kids aged 8 and up, or the parents vacationing poolside with the younger kids, enjoying good food and fellowship together. It doesn't matter who had more fun, because we all came home refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for the next school year ahead.

The parents and the "littles"

JV Kids' Camp 2014 "Wild and Wacky Day"

Every year seems to get easier sending our kids into the public school here, probably because things are quite familiar to us now, and to our kids who all went back into the same school, same teachers, and same classrooms as last year. Only Shaylee had a change in her preschool, as she is now in the official Kindergarten class and had a change of teachers and room. But, she is adjusting nicely, and happy to go and be with these new kids and new teachers. Her comment yesterday about the new situation was that these new teachers don't yell, and they even allow the kids to get up out of their beds during nap time without even making them ask permission first! Two improvements from last year, according to Shaylee.

So, with 4 school years under our belt, you'd think that the mistakes we make in culture would be pretty much a thing of the past…you'd think…until we came home on the first day of school and realized that, in fact, it actually wasn't the first day of school!  The kids all got out the door this past Monday on time, early in fact, with their flowers for their teachers in hand, as well as plates of cookies they wanted to take; we said our good-byes and off they rode with Ed…only to come home 15 minutes later, still with flowers and cookies in hand!?!? "No school today!!" Huh???  How could we make this mistake on our 5th school year? Somehow we missed the knowledge of September 1st being a national holiday. We'll know for next year…I need to be making a spreadsheet of all the things we learn the hard way, that we'll for sure "know for next year", because I think the list is getting pretty long and we might be forgetting some of these important ones.

Oh well…the cookies and flowers were still fine for Tuesday's delivery that actually did happen, and the kids enjoyed an unexpected extra day at home!  :-) We are super thrilled for how our kids have adjusted to schooling here, and love it that they don't fear going, or dread it, except for the downers of having to wake up early AND have homework! Otherwise, school is a normal thing for them, and they are doing better in it than I would be!


This post got a little longer than I planned, but I do still want to add a link for you to read a post from our Josiah Venture president, Dave Patty, about the Third Culture kids of JV. We love his perspective on raising kids on the field, as he and his wife Connie have raised their 3 now-adult children in the Czech Republic. We also deeply respect and appreciate the fact that the value of family and our children is such a priority among this entire organization. So, if you have a few more minutes to read here, this article is a great view of how our kids are a huge part of our ministry here, and how they are missionaries themselves, not just the kids of some.

And, one more thing, since we are on the subject of children and our Third-Culture ones…here is another link…this one about a book called I Am Third that our 4 oldest children had a part in writing. This link is a post written by our friend and coworker, Amy Ellenwood, about the writing of the book, and how the kids of Josiah Venture wrote their stories, some more serious and deep than others, according to their age and ability. Our kids were thrilled to actually see their stories in print, so it was an amazing experience for them to become authors in this great way. See if you can find our kids in the group of crazy faces on the cover of the book.