Back to School Freedom

I feel exactly like this mom when school starts each fall.

back to school mom

I have the house back to myself – peace and quiet for 7 hours.  Well, actually 4 and then the dog starts barking and it’s all downhill from there.  However, I technically have from 8:15-2:45 to myself every day.

It’s been an interesting back to school start.  I would like to figure out why our high schoolers start school an entire hour earlier than elementary.  Did you see that Seattle figured this out and actually realized that small children wake up QUITE A BIT EARLIER than teenagers?  Go Seattle!

I also think it’s criminal that elementary school children have three times as many days off as high schoolers.  We all know that children need consistency, order and schedule to function well.  Having a child who thrives on these three things, having two days off every week until November is pretty much a recipe for disaster.

However, when the children are back in school, I have room to clean, organize, and purge without their intervention.  I also have time to read and think.

This morning Matt sent me an email.  “Take 20 minutes to watch this, then I want to watch it with everyone tonight.”  Okay, I had 20 minutes so I hit play.

charity water 2

Because I’m still figuring out this new wordpress format (Thank you so much WP for changing EVERYTHING just when I figured out how manage the site!), I cannot post it here. However, go to and see for yourself!

In 20 minutes, you’ll see how one man who traversed a long road of pain has been able to help bring clean water to over 6 million people simply by taking the first step and starting.  It’s a powerful video and deeply moving. I found myself in tears throughout most of the video, realizing that while I’m halleluying my kids being back to school, people are still drinking bug infested water.

There is nothing wrong with being happy with a few hours to myself every day.  I am not a terrible person because I’m not out changing the world right now.  However, if I am resolute  to raise world aware, action taking, courageous children, I need to model that myself.

Today, as I watched these moms in Ethiopia speak of finally having water to clean their children properly, prepare healthy food and time to work because they are not shlepping gallons of water on their backs all day, I was struck with a few simple thoughts.

First, I take too much for granted.  I lived overseas for 19 years.  In AFRICA.  Yes, I did and I still forget, so quickly, how hard life is for most people around the world. In fact, this morning I was cursing my bathroom sink for backing up, wishing I could just have the drain work for one dang minute!

Second, I play the “I can’t” card all the time.  If you have another 25 minutes, go and watch this guy’s video. Jeremy Cowart, King of “I can’t” until he could. He is now an amazingly successful world renowned photographer who is sharing children’s stories of war, grief and pain in unbelievable ways (and that’s just one of his projects!)

I can’t because I don’t have time. That’s the best one right?  I use this excuse all the time. I can’t because I don’t have money, the right tools, the education, the ability to connect, and on and on.

Third, I’m lazy.  There’s no sugar coating this one.  I want to do what I want to do.  I will make time and effort for those things that are important to me.  However, if it’s not something I’m deeply invested in, I push it aside.

Funny how I read these three statements and inwardly groan.  See, I hear myself telling my kids all the time that they can overcome anything if they just set their mind to it!  I tell them they need to make time for things that are important not only to them but to others.

So here’s the deal, after a morning of self reflection and conviction, I’m pulling my pants up and I’m going to make time.

It looks different for each of us.  Some people have created fund drives and campaigns. Others set private goals, choosing to give and be involved without any pomp and circumstance.

I’m not just talking Charity Water now.  Don’t get my wrong, I think Charity Water is a pretty amazing organization.  I also think that Compassion International and the Heifer Project are too!  My point is this, if we want to see the next generation care for each other, live life to the fullest and be change makers, we have to be all those things first.

It starts with simply watching and reading, educating ourselves.  There’s a pretty big world out there and honestly, with all the dark and muck and political gaming happening right now, it is a breath of fresh air to see people care for others.

Then it’s a conversation.  With friends, our kids, our coworkers…people we see each day. We talk about what we’ve read, we share our thoughts and we say, “Hmmm, what can WE do about it?”

I like simple and I like action.  I am often frozen with fear that if I don’t do something big enough, it won’t matter.  Where the heck did I get that idea from?  I love what Ghandi says about inaction.

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.” 

For me, today, my action is watching and writing.  Tomorrow, I will reflect and take one step.  I’m not sure what yet but today is the present.




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