Saturday, September 28, 2013


I’ve been in denial about my “baby” becoming a teen.  Those years always seemed a lifetime away, a milestone too far to reach, and frankly I never thought I’d be old enough to have teenager.  But now that “baby” is taller than I am, can sleep till noon, is never completely full, and has a voice that I often mistake for his dad’s, there’s no denying it, there most definitely is a teenager in the house. 

I’ve been doing a bunch of reading lately on raising teens – how to guide them, how to talk to them about pertinent issues, and how to continue raising them with a heart for the Lord.  Lots of reading.  Lots of information.  Lots of note taking.  Lots of praying.  One overriding theme is the importance of family time.  Without movie theaters or parks, organized sport teams, malls and restaurants, music lessons or youth group in our rural Paraguayan town, family time is something we do a lot of. 

In North America families have to fight for time together.  Parents are busy with work and errand running, kids are in school long hours, plus extra activities after school and on weekends.  Family times around the dinner table and family hangout nights are hard to come by.  Although there are some things I miss about living in North America, having to scramble for time together is not one of them.  Having Jeff’s medical clinic parked in our yard and choosing to homeschool, we spend all day (and all week) together as a family. 

There is hardly a lunch or dinner where all 9 of us aren’t present.  Meal times are precious family times as we laugh together, read missionary biographies, have Bible time, learn random facts, or take funny quizzes.  We also spend once a day sipping terere together (a Paraguayan tea and custom).  I have to be purposeful in putting lunch preparations on hold if we terere in the morning or pausing homeschooling if we terere in the afternoon because the kids look forward to this time.  It’s amazing the variety of topics we can cover – culture (both US and Paraguay), morality, medicine, and currents events while passing the yerba filled cow’s horn! 

Missionaries are always travelling.  Every 4-6 weeks we pack up for another 10 hour round trip road trip.  We’re pros at passing the time with Adventures in Odyssey, reading books out loud or and playing games (catchphrase being a favorite).  We also regularly are travel to visit team mates (who live an hour to 1 ½ hours away) which equals a lot of togetherness in the car on a monthly basis. 

Our church meets all together for services, our children come to Bible study with us, and their friends come to our house to play. Togetherness.  When I asked Ryan if he thought he spent too much time with his parents he said, “No way.  I like you guys.” 


As I’ve been reading up on teens, I’ve discovered a new term – “tween” – of which I have two.  So I’ll keep reading, gaining information, taking notes, and above all praying. 

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