Saturday, April 30, 2011


Many in my generation grew up watching LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE and many. many more--- younger and older than I am --- have read the books that tell the stories about her life and the many adventures she had as an 1800's pioneer girl. She and family shivered through blizzards, forded flooded rivers, faced wild animals, and worked hard to just survive and have the bare basics much of the time.

Laura and her siblings were often homeschooled by their mother Caroline but were also educated at times in small, one-room school houses.

Laura Ingalls was hired to teach at her very own, small, one-room school house way out on the prairie at just 15 years of age.

I love the stories that Laura wrote, and as a child, I fantasized that I would get the chance to live her life. But that's all it was for me, a fantasy. Who knew that one day I'd grow up and my daughter would have a chance to have an adventure very similar in some ways to one of Laura's most challenging adventures?

The child involved in a Laura-like adventure is my 15 year old daughter Betsie.

She has left her family and is serving two months as a short-term missionary in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand. After about a week in country, she was given the the honor and responsibility of teaching a class of Thai students how to speak English. And like Laura's pupils, Betsie also has students who are younger than she is but also ones who are older than she is.

I am so excited for her. As I often lament with my husband and friends, so little real responsibilities or expectations are given to American teens for the most part these days. They are often treated like idiots who just need to be coddled along in an extended childhood. Here in America, due to rules and regulations and insurance issues, it is often very hard for teenagers to get much real world experience or be given challenging opportunities of responsibility and authority. In fact, my daughter at age 17 couldn't even work at a local sub shop because she wasn't allowed by the corporation to handle knives. And I've also been told that she couldn't work at the local snowball stand til she's 18 because at her age she wouldn't be old enough to use the ice shaver!

I'm so grateful that God has led Betsie there to live for two months and do some amazing things for him. Things that will grow His kingdom and things that will change her life forever. Things, that to be honest, would be hard for her to have the chance to do here in the U.S.

If some of you would like to read her blog post, she has chronicled her very first day solo teaching a class of 8 eager Thai students.

So what are some opportunities that your kids have had to gain experience way beyond the American or "western" norm? Feel free to brag away --- I certainly have.

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