This past week I traveled with my oldest daughter Grace on a business trip to San Francisco. This provided many opportunities for her to understand the world on a much broader sense than she typically experiences. I’m very thankful for this, as home educators we are often accused of wanting to protect and keep our kids in a bubble. I certainly want to protect them, but I think allowing them not to see the sinfulness of the world would be a mistake and one of the biggest advantages to home-schooling is the opportunity for our kids to travel.
Certainly San Francisco provides many favorable circumstances to see man’s sinfulness on full display. The sheer number of people is overwhelming for one. When you spend time in a bigger city it challenges the mind with the incredible amount of activity; the noises, the traffic, the chaos and cacophony of different things swirling around you.
I had several things in mind as we prepared for our trip and one of them was to allow Grace to help us navigate the airports. I remember the first time I flew on my own and how intimidating an airport can be. We discussed lots of different ideas during this trip and having a focus on being attentive to her surroundings and getting a feel for human behavior were also key ideas that I wanted to help her understand.
Can she identify what different types of people she will encounter and are they a serious threat or not. As we spent the majority of our time in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, this is bustling with activity, mostly tourists, but lots of people that make their living there in various different ways, including the lifestyle of living on the street. What an eye-opening experience as Grace saw how sin leads to a life of rebellion and lack of a desire to belong in the norm of culture. It’s a sub-culture all its own and I’m convinced many of them want it that way. But let’s not think they are any worse or we are any better. Without Christ we are all the worst of sinners and held captive to our own desires.
We experienced men digging through and eating from garbage cans, and a man urinating in public in the broad daylight tucked behind a small building. These are some of the raw things we will not forget. The other wonderful memories we formed together were seeing God’s beautiful creation. The Bay Area is stunning in its natural beauty and as we looked over the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay from a high perch above its incredible to think how God spoke and it was so.
Deuteronomy 6 tells me as I father I’m to teach Grace and my other children diligently the law of God as we live life together. There is not to be a time when we put God on the backburner and focus on more important things. He is the focus. He is the one that I need to constantly be showing and reminding my children that we are here to bring Him glory. Just as the gigantic redwoods glorify and show His wisdom, we must also give glory to the Creator.
My most satisfying moment on our trip came Saturday evening as we went to dinner. We entered a restaurant that I’ve frequented often and two people from the event staff were already seated. They invited us to join them and we had a nice conversation about various subjects. As the food arrived I announced I’d like to pray and ask the Lord’s blessing on this meal.
This prayer opened a door for us to discuss the purpose of home-schooling from a Christian Worldview and not simply that we think it’s a better education. I was able to discuss how Grace is learning about life and by spending time with her father she is learning wisdom as Proverbs 13:20 tells us. Grace did a wonderful job of allowing her father to speak, but also interjecting at appropriate times. She was able to beautifully articulate her education and engage two adults in a real conversation. She was engaged with them and not an electronic device as I looked around to see most of the adults conversing with their I-Phones and not the ones across the table from them.
I told her that night that I was very pleased with the way she handled herself and this is the way we can show the world Christ. Yes, we must speak and proclaim the good news but also the world will see a difference in our behavior and realize this is just not normal.
Monday morning the Lord opened a door for me to share my faith and really talk to a man I’ve known for quite a while. He was very honest in his lack of belief. As I told him that belief is a gift of God, but in no wise will this let him off the hook as he stands before God should he breathes his last breath. He and he alone will be accountable for his sin. I explained to him that he doesn’t believe because he likes his sin as we all did before God grants us repentance and I think he related to that on a certain level.
As I look back on these past days it will be a memory Grace and I will share as long as we live. It will be a time that I will cherish as her father. As she is growing so quickly into a woman I pray she will see how much her dad loves her and cares for her. But most importantly she will know how much her Heavenly Father loves and cares for her.