Oct 17, 2009

This week I have been overcome with feelings that I am finding hard to put words to. These are such strong experiences though, I feel I must share.

I was asked months ago to mentor a discussion on The Lord of the Rings for a group of homeschooled youth and this week we finally met. I have been excited to share and learn together with these youth, but I had no idea what I would feel as I was there. First, we picked up another girl to ride with us to the discussion and as she and Blythe chatted on the drive the thought came to my mind, “you are so blessed to be able to spend your days involved with youth who are happy, excited about learning, and are discussing REAL ideas, instead of what movie is playing or the latest gossip of the world.”

Then, at the discussion, the youth had such great comments on leadership, friendship, journeys, fighting evil, how to prepare for our own missions, comparisons between The Lord of the Rings and Pilgrim’s Progress (really, how many youth are reading Pilgrim’s Progress today?) and a conviction that anyone, anyone at all, even themselves can change the world. We discussed so many wonderful ideas and they shared themselves with me in a way that touched me deeply. They had important ideas about their reading of this book and they let them out and shared them. Part of it felt very normal because I experience this often, but part of it felt very surreal because I think it is fairly uncommon in this busy, technological, adult-teenager-angst world.

That night I came home to a dinner made by my husband for our anniversary. He had come home early from work and made dinner while I was gone to the discussion – complete surprise to me! We still had one of the youth from the discussion with us and she and her father ended up sharing our meal. It was lovely to share our anniversary dinner (which we always do as a family because it is the day our family was created, not just the day we were married) with friends who are on this same path of learning together as families.

Once again, I thought how blessed I am to have such a simple, wonderful life.

Then…and this is the kicker…I taught gymnastics on Friday. Each week I teach 70 homeschooled students to do donkey kicks, monkey jumps, cartwheels, and back handsprings. That day, I received at least 20 giant bear hugs, some kisses, a lot of smiles, and tons of great energy. One particular girl was working on vaulting. I knew she could do a tuck-on all the way up onto the horse, but she didn’t think she could. I had her try again and again and again. Each time she landed on her knees. By her fourth or fifth try, all the parents and lots of the children were watching her, all encouraging her and hoping she would get it. She DID and the whole gym cheered for her. Most importantly, she gave me a huge smile and I could tell she had conquered her fear and was proud of herself. She had learned she could do hard things. As I went through each class, several more events like this happened and a powerful feeling washed over me…it was something like this…

“You are changing lives. You are helping these children to know who they are and what they can be. You are an instrument in My hands to love, to build, and to know these children. Give them your heart and it will provide them with strength and courage in the days to come. You are not just their gym teacher, you are their friend. Do not take their love lightly, as it is precious and life-giving.”

These words do not completely capture the feeling, but they give you a sense of it.

What a blessing to know these children and to be able to share their lives with them. I will do better to remember this and the effect I can have.

Looking back, I can remember people in my childhood that greatly influenced me…until this week I never truly realized I could be that person for someone else’s children.

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  1. Anne

    You do live a lovely life! Your children are so fortunate. And you, my dear, have been making a difference in people’s lives since you were a wee one! You just don’t remember. Your spirit has been ginormous since the day you were born. People have always been drawn to you. No one is surprised, but you! Silly Goose!

  2. Wow. I got chills reading this. You are SO POWERFULLY AMAZING and inspirational! It is a true privilege to know you. Wow. (And YAY for the meaningful discussions among the youth! Yay! How cool to be a part of that!)

  3. Sally

    What beautiful thoughts. Kids are so important and we live in a world where they aren’t. What fun to be able to interact with so many kids. :)

  4. LaPriel

    How do I find out about all the group things you are doing for homeschooling?

    • tracy

      What do activities do you want to know about? Just ask and I will try not to overwhelm you!