Parenting is a tricky thing. Usually you end up looking back at all the ways you got it wrong. Poet Philip Larkin expresses the negative parental impact with an expletive; not for a minister’s blog!
I have always sensed that what my daughters will take away from their time with me is not the things I intentionally pointed out to them but those things we did without thinking. That is a frightening thought! One such habit might just have inspired our holiday destination this year!
We had targeted this summer a “big” holiday. We don’t have a big holiday budget but with Caitlin about to leave for University we thought we’d go a distance and make it a holiday to remember. We have a house set up in Vancouver where we spent a wonderful three month sabbatical in 2005.
Then… the children. Jasmine says, “and how would change the world in Vancouver?” A fine question. Where did she learn to think such things? Darn it! We have been taking the girls to Africa since they were very tiny. Jasmine was only 20 months old on her first walk around a South African township. It had come back to bite us!
So, this summer the Stockmans are holidaying in a Primary School in Uganda. While other families will lie on beaches and go to the water parks, we will be teaching the wonderful children of Onialeku Primary School.
For those who know us and follow Soul Surmise you will be aware that Fitzroy tithed their building fund and funded a school in Arua, in West Nile, Uganda. We were there with a youth team last summer. My girls have two sponsor children there. That is where their hearts are.
When I am not thinking that I could do with a rest, a relaxing coffee in Kitsilano, an evening walk on Jericho Beach or a cycle around Stanley Park I am proud of this impact on my daughters’ lives. I am thrilled at their love for Africa. Janice's parents were Irish Directors for Africa Evangelical Fellowship. I remember her mum saying how they prayed Janice would love Africa. That prayer was answered with extras as the son-in-law got the bug too. Now that has crossed another generation and the grandchildren are now won over!
My great uncle Tommy Stockman had a love Africa. he never left Ballymena but missionary Helen Roseveare once told him that during an illness he had he wa the most prayed for man in the Congo. I believe that he prayed for me too. It is not lost on me that Onialeku Primary School is less than 10 miles from the Congo border.
In the end when I came to terms with a "holiday" in Uganda I have come to see the benefits. Had we gone to Vancouver it is likely that we would have spent a lot of time with our heads in books, each of us watching different things on our smart phones and tablets. In Uganda we will be in the same space for hour upon hour as we travel. We will be out of wifi connection a lot of the time and we will be working together as we teach and play in the school. This is a family together trip... and we make a difference as well! Sweet!
It will allow Janice and I to do some useful things. It will give us time to build relationships at the school. We will get a chance to plan the Fitzroy Team for 2017. We will be able to take a look at other Fields Of Life schools and get a feel for the country and mission in its context.
Panic not. We will get a couple of nights in a National Park and Fitzroy have given us extra holiday time to recover and rest in Ballycastle after we return home. Sabbatical is vital. Thank you Fitzroy for sharing the vision, responding to my children's crazy demands and supporting us in so many ways.
These are the benefits of one of our parenting influences that went right!
If you want to support the work at Onialeku Primary School then a couple of mad cyclists and some craft makers are giving you these opportunities... FOR INFO CLICK HERE