This picture is taken by one of my daughter’s friends. Here’s some of her class and the world changers.

We share the same air, breathing in and out….

We exchange knowing glances between us…

We have all traveled here for this moment to share…

Fifty-three different countries are represented and we sit and share the wings of our children’s lives. A beautiful silk sari brushes my shoulder, a kimono with birds of paradise is in front of me, to my left, native robes of Ghana provide abundant color against the white tent background.

Nationalities, politics, religion, and individual personality quirks merely color the background of conversation while we listen carefully to one another, swapping old tales and sharing intimate stories of years gone by. It’s in this mingling together that we all acknowledge a silent but knowing bond that brings us together like nothing else in the world can — our children. We are their parents. We are mothers and we are fathers.

Conversations this week have tended to focus on what lies ahead…

  • What will you do now?
  • Where are you investing this education?
  • In what ways are you taking this education out into the world?

All these questions are important, they are all relevant to what the future holds for these students. And while I was one of many who asked questions like this to the MBA students, I found an entirely different set of questions when speaking with the parents…

  • How did you nurture your child’s spirit when they were young?
  • In what ways do you see their past connecting with who they are now?

You could really never believe the fascinating amounts of wisdom that I had the joy of hearing from these parents. The varying accents, so many varieties, provided the need to listen, and I mean really listen closely while shutting out the rest of the world to be totally present to the one parent in front of me.

When I talk about wisdom, I am not talking about degreed knowledge, though it is a bit intimidating when you’re in a world of academia that has educated the likes of C.S. Lewis, Bonnehoffer and Churchill. What I have found this past week is a wealth of knowledge that’s not measurable by degrees or institutions, but a kind that is held by parents who have sacrificed, released, held, cried over, rescued, and challenged as they grew into wisdom from raising their children.

Each life is a story in process, but the commonality that linked all of us as parents was love. I was reminded of the simplicity and complexity of this word all week.

  • Parents that fled a war torn country…
  • Parents willing to release a daughter to another country’s freedom for girls to learn…
  • Parents letting their children dream of peace and pursue it…
  • Parents experiencing their cultural norms being stretched and expanded…
  • Parents witnessing their children returning home forever changed…
  • Parents giving of time, energy and money to support change…

The ways in which love reaches beyond cultures and into the depths of our hearts as parents is universal and it has much to teach us… if we are really able to listen.

Really, I do not feel old enough or wise enough to be here. How did I become the “old parent” and not realize it was happening?

So if you would allow me to offer one piece of advice and one challenge from sitting within this cross-cultural experience it would be this….

Some advice: Love your children, in spite of the discomfort and uncertainty! 

A challenge: Never limit love to what you have experienced, there is always more!

Today I am on my way home, back to my cozy town near the lake. But I do have one more story I’d like to share with you from my time in England, watch for it to be posted this weekend. It’s a story of how God interweaves our lives for such a time as this. It’s a story I can hardly believe has found me. It starts something like this: I met an Indian woman who after chatting for sometime, we discovered was connected to the hospital where my dear Daddy spent his final days fitting cancer.

This was no chance encounter… something more was happening.

For such a time as this.

Cheers! Be home soon,

~becky.

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