I thought it was high time I gave a glimpse into Ruslan and Nastia's new normal. I'm not sure this will be of any real value to those who will be coming to this blog to learn what it is like to adopt internationally, but it might at least be amusing to those of you who might like to see what it's actually like here now.
To understand all of this, you would need to understand our philosophy on raising children. We both feel very strongly that our society is spiraling in the wrong direction and that this disintegration is due not only to indulgence and attitudes of entitlement, but also to a waning work ethic on the part of our generation and those who are up and coming.
Our society has bought into the idea that entertainment is a need, not an indulgence that should be carefully monitored and rationed. It has accepted the idea that technologies are playthings, not tools with which to better the world. America's children hold in their hands the smallest of devices with the most powerful ability to entrap, indulge, addict and enslave anyone who is not mature enough to recognize that power. These children are using and abusing technologies with our consent, even our facilitation. We parents are enablers for one of the most destructive forces a generation of children has ever seen in this country, perhaps in the history of the world. These forces come packaged under the Christmas tree, in birthday wrap or thrown into the shopping cart just for the purpose of keeping our kids occupied so we can "have some peace and quiet".
If we wouldn't gift wrap a roofer's nail gun and give it to a seven year old, why would we give them a pocket-sized device with access to all the media, internet or anonymous social situations the world can provide? Why would we be so concerned about their physical welfare and think ourselves such "responsible" parents when we take absolutely no thought for their tender spirits that can be so easily and irreparably damaged?
This is to say nothing about the work ethic that is so quickly fading into the past generations as if it isn't even necessary anymore. The media and our materialistic, self-indulgent culture has fed us the idea that it's better to find the easiest path, work the least amount we possibly can and still feel the need to vacation from the little work we do subject ourselves to.
The fact is, we are not our society. Our society, our fads, our money, our homes, our material possessions aren't real. When we leave this life, we will realize that all these things were as valuable as we now see Monopoly money and the little plastic houses we move around on the board.
We are children of God; here to learn to become like Him, here to prove that we will follow Him, here to work and hurt and sweat and struggle and turn to Him when we have to do that. We are here to prove that we can look beyond this illusory situation and see into eternity, struggling daily to remember our divinity and our purpose in this temporal, and temporary, situation. Struggling, basically, to become like Him in every thought, in every action, in every decision.
So, we live on a farm.
We wanted our children to know what it was like to get up every day and care for something living; whether they wanted to or not, whether they felt like it or not, whether it benefitted them immediately or not, whether it was fun or interesting or entertaining...or not.
Because that is what it is like to be a parent. That is what it is like when it's the second day on the job and the third and the fourth and the ten thousandth.
In a child's mind, are their immediate rewards for feeding the chickens? Nope. But, over time they realize the benefit it is to the family...thus, themselves...and they learn to love their contribution to the welfare of the whole, rather than seeking solely for their own pleasure.
Does living on a farm require a lot more work on the part of the parents? You'd better believe it. Does that bother us? Not in the least.
See, we know what we're doing here. We know why we're here and where we're going. And when I say "here", I mean on Earth. We also know that we are not going to be here long...just a sliver of time, really.
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to win a shopping spree? It seems like a long time ago we saw one actually happen on TV. A lady was given a shopping cart and she had to run through a grocery store and grab everything she could in some insanely short period of time.
She scouted out the store ahead of time to figure out where the best stuff was to make sure she knew which isle she wanted to start with to make the very best use of the short minutes she had. When the time started, she ran as fast as she could literally throwing things into her cart, sweeping the shelves with her arms, trying to get as much into the basket as possible. She missed the cart sometimes as products fell on the floor because her aim wasn't the best, but she was trying her best and, most importantly, she was using her time as wisely as she could...because she knew it was going to end sooner than she could imagine.
That is the way we want to live life. We have been given this incredible opportunity, full to overflowing with possible joys and experiences and opportunities that will benefit us for eternity.
When the buzzer went off, the lady had to stop gathering her treasures, but she looked so happy. She was trying to catch her breath and could hardly talk for the interview afterward, but she was happy with what she had been able to accomplish in her tiny amount of time.
We'll be the first ones to admit that, like her, we don't always get everything into the basket. We overshoot the cart and make mistakes and miss the joys we could have had. We mourn the loss of them, sorry for our wrongs, wishing we could do better. We feel that way every day. But we'd rather miss a few joys because we were working so hard at our goal than miss the shopping spree altogether.
So, that is why what you are going to see in this post is different than the typical American family. We feel we need to be different. We need to find a way to be better than we are or have been, work harder, play less and learn to love the eternal principle of work. Once we learn to love what we have to do, what God has asked us to do, we will be content. We won't need to escape or vacation because our daily, hourly, minute-by-minute demands will bring joy. And that, we believe, is the secret to a joyful life.
|Ruslan is the class clown here at home! He always has us rolling in laughter. The kids can always count on him to be entertainment. Just recently, our second-youngest son told his grandparents, "We don't need TV, we have Ruslan!"|
|While Grandma was visiting, Dad took everyone up the nearby canyon for a jaunt. Mom stayed home to get something done...funny, I can't remember what it was. Guess I missed the cart that time.|
|Peach canning! Ruslan is sporting his favorite Ukrainian soccer shirt. Look at the concentration on their faces! We ended up with 26 quarts of home canned peaches.|
And that is a glimpse into daily life here as the summer winds down. We've been home about two months and this is what we've spent a lot of time doing...working together. The kids have all started piano lessons and homeschool classes and there is news to share and more to come!
Just not tonight... ;)