Summer Fun: Journey Across America

It's been a busy week. We've been participating in Vacation Bible School at our church this week and we've had the regular assortment of soccer and hockey practices. We're dragging a bit this morning, but all of us are looking forward to our afternoon "journey" to North Carolina, the second state on our Journey Across America. For those of you who missed last week's blog, we're "travelling" across the United States this summer and learning a little history, having a little fun and learning some important Biblical truths.

We'll have a fun afternoon filled with making paper couches (North Carolina is the center of the furniture industry in the U.S.), flying paper airplanes as the state is home to the first airplane flight, racing Hot Wheels cars because Charlotte is the center of the NASCAR world and discovering clues to the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke. The girls will be busy, but they'll be learning important facts about the country.

We're also going to focus on a message that every child needs to hear. North Carolina's motto is "To be rather than to seem." It means that its residents are people of substance -- they are real, authentic people. God wants our kids to be the people He made them to be. So often, especially among girls, our kids strive to be just like everyone else. Being different isn't encouraged much after kindergarten. Our kids need to know that they are valuable simply because God made them. As we learned in VBS this week, we are God's greatest creation.

To make that point with the girls today, we'll be talking about masks. Each girl will make a mask of some way that they try to be like others that is different from who they really are. We'll talk about how putting on that mask every morning actually forces them to live a lie. God gave each child gifts, talents and personality that are unique to them. As parents, we need to nurture those traits and character qualities because God has a plan for them.

I struggle with this sometimes, especially with my youngest daughter. She marches to the beat of her own drum. She loves race cars, monster trucks and Star Wars. She plays ice hockey in a town where few boys play hockey and even fewer girls are interested in the sport. However, she plays it with a polka-dot stick and purple and baby blue striped hockey socks. I never imagined when she was born that I would spend many days in a hockey arena and that we would own more Hot Wheels cars than we do dolls. Sometimes my dreams of the way things would be when I had two girls get in the way of my encouraging her to be exactly who God made her to be. There are days when I have to stop and examine my heart to decide if my response is based on what I think is appropriate for my girl or whether it's based on who God made her to be.

Kids face so much pressure at school and even at church to fit in whatever mold society has deemed appropriate for them. Making sure our kids know that those things that make them different are the things that God is able to use is a tough task. I'm hoping a "trip" to North Carolina is just what my girls need to get this message across.