I remember when my husband first suggested that our daughter take a year off from school. I thought, “It’s not the normal track. People don’t just take gap-years between Middle School and High School. It’s not a thing.”
Why would we do this?
For what purpose?
What about her friends?
You don’t expect me to homeschool, do you?
What will people think?
What will Audrey think?
Will we scar her for life?
What on earth would we do with her all year?
Those were some of the questions after my big fat, “No. Absolutely not. Have you lost your mind?” response. Then I heard the ill-fated words, “Hear me out.”
Now, when your husband says, “Hear me out,” what comes to your mind?
We’ll pick this story up in a little bit, but I need to make something clear:
Your child doesn’t have to be going to Asia to live an adventure. She doesn’t have to be trying exotic foods to live an adventure. Each child has their own adventure tucked neatly into their souls just waiting to be lived out. Maybe your daughter will be a kindred spirit with a little girl who has some learning and physical limitations at her school. Maybe your son will be crossing-guard at school, safely ushering younger children across the street. Maybe your kids will crowd around your computer looking at YouTube videos on how to perform skateboarding tricks. Maybe they’ll work together to build their own halfpipe (our neighbor did!). Maybe your son will create their own YouTube channel and have a chance to live out the gospel while making videos at the skatepark. Maybe your daughter will be the sought after babysitter in the area and she’ll begin her quest to disciple the next generation as a teen.
Adventure does not equal travel. Adventure is looking your five-year-old in the face and saying, “I believe in you. I know God has something great in store. Living life with you and helping you discover that is the adventure!” Click To Tweet
According to Merriam-Webster, Adventure is defined as follows:
- an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
- the encountering of risks
- an exciting or remarkable experience
- an enterprise involving financial risk
Change, standing out, being different, dogged concentration, and challenging yourself always involves risk. Living life within the four walls of your home can be an exciting and remarkable experience. You’re not just living life bobbing along and if you feel that way, you are too busy. You’re raising the next generation of world leaders and game changers. Who will your kid become?
Life is an adventure waiting for you.
The point I’m trying to make is not to think that just because Audrey is traveling that she is the only one living an adventure in our home. Yes, she’s taking a year off to travel the world. She’s branching out and experiencing new things we never dreamed. But that doesn’t mean that our boys aren’t coming into their own adventures. We find their interests and run with those too. We try to encourage exploration and honing new skills they’re developing.
As an example, one of our sons is more timid. He gets nervous easily. Trying new things is difficult for him. Raising his hand in class is difficult for him. Answering the question, “How are you?” is difficult for him some days. He is a thinker and takes it all in. He analyzes his situations. He has to think through everything and then act.
It literally blew my mind when he considered entering karate tournament. If you would have asked me, I would have said that he would never enter a karate tournament. Ever. And you know what? I never would have even asked him.
Praise the Lord that the karate instructor mentioned it at class and while we were packing up he said, “Can we discuss the tournament when we get home?”
My eyes welled up.
I could see that God was calling him to a grand adventure and I almost missed it because I made an assumption.
Don’t miss it!
So what’s the first step in equipping your children to live their adventures at home and abroad?
Let’s just dream,” my husband said.
“I don’t want to dream,” I said. Some dreams are nightmares and frankly, the idea of homeschooling my eldest seemed something more akin to a nightmare than a dream. I love my children. That’s why I pay an exorbitant amount of money to send them to a school where others teach them. Because I love them.
So we dreamt.
We started answering questions like:
- What could it look like?
- If nothing were holding us back, what would we have her do that year?
- If I were in 8th grade, what would I want to do?
- How could we make this cool for her?
- What do we want her to know and understand before she leaves the home?
- What would the consequences be if we didn’t do this?
And that, my Friend, is where you begin to help your children live their God-given adventures. You dream.
An idea is just an idea and isn’t a commitment. I thought that if I truly allowed myself to dream it would either be a huge disappointment when I realized it was an impossibility or, the idea would grow legs of its own and I would lose control over it.
I was terrified.
I think I was more afraid of it not working out than I was about it working out. What if I fell in love with this idea and it didn’t pan out? Could I deal with that disappointment? What if Audrey loved the idea and we couldn’t make it happen? Could I deal with her disappointment?
I was also afraid it might actually work. Then what would I do? I’d be committed to this endeavor and what if I didn’t like it?
Despite any fears you may have, the first step is to dream. In a former blog post I address the topic of fear when we look at four ways to help your kids live boldly when you’re afraid.
So we dreamt.
Nothing was off limits.
We answered the question:
If nothing were standing in your way or holding you back, what would you do?
Regardless of whatever fears you have, dreaming is essential. You just gotta do it. You need to buckle down and let your mind wander to the seemingly impossible.
Our kids are great at this, aren’t they? One of my boys is always saying to the other, “What if this or that happened?!” The other responds with a resounding, “That would be awesome!”
They delight in the dream of it. They spout off some crazy things sometimes like, “What if I could pick up our house?!” And sadly, in annoyance, I’ve said things like, “That’s never going to happen. Be reasonable.”
But little boys like to dream. They like to think of what could be or what would be.
I’m afraid I’ve lost that ability. I’ve let the dreams slip through my fingers. I’ve sifted out the reasonable from the unreasonable and judged the unreasonable as unworthy.
How sad. I feel like the old, forgetful Peter in the movie, Hook. How much I’ve grown up.
When did my imagination break?
The exercise of dreaming might be a little painful as it was for me, but I encourage you to do it anyway.
Start by answering that question:
If nothing were holding you back, what would you…?
We’ve included a few pages to help you brainstorm. There are a few steps to this process of dreaming:
- Just dump everything that comes to mind about the topic on your paper. Answer the question without thinking too much. The analysis comes later. For now, we’re just dreaming. Take a few days to do this. Be thinking about it as you’re washing dishes, shuttling kids around, and going on dates with your husband. Write down everything that comes to mind.
- Take the next sheet and start to categorize what you wrote down. Are there people you need to talk to? Did you write down names? Are there steps you need to take? Supplies you would need to acquire? Start to organize what you dreamt on the first sheet. Do not judge what you wrote down. Simply order it so you can find it again easily.
- End the session just thinking about the question, “Is this such an outrageous thing? Why or why not?
Check out the brainstorming printables here.
Check out the companion blog post here: 4 Practical Steps to Allow Your Kids to Live Boldly When You’re Afraid
We’d absolutely love to hear from you and what dreams God has placed on your heart. Please comment below and let us know what some of your dreamy adventures are!