This basic truth was a hard one to learn for me! That is not to say I didn’t give lip service to believing it. I totally did. But the realities of belief that people are more important than the task I must complete or the things I think I need? That was much more difficult!The realities of belief that people are more important than the task I must complete or the things I think I need? That was much more difficult! Click To Tweet
In order for me to do this, I had to take off my watch for about 1 1/2 years. No joke! The relaxed nature of the Jamaican view of time reflected their view of the importance of people over tasks!
There was always time to “make” over children. That was something I was not used to. I should probably mention it here.
My personal history taught me the opposite of this!
I grew up in a home where ministry was king. At times, my dad was a pastor, Christian school principal and missionary. There were always deadlines. Always places to be on time. The understanding was that children were supposed to fit into these places neatly. It was somewhat cultural in the 1950’s, you know the view? Children should be seen and not heard. That was the culture.
In our home, there never seemed to be a time when the needs of children were able to be focused on. There is no doubt we were a lively bunch, but we weren’t the anomalies we thought we were. The expectations of us were just a bit unrealistic. We were children. We did things that children do. It seemed to take our parents by surprise.
No, it was never spelled out this way, but this is what I learned. I tended to think in terms of rules.
- Rule #1: In order to be a good child of parents in ministry, you need to tuck away your feelings in a box for a time when they can be dealt with.
- Rule #2: There will never be a time to deal with those feelings.
Sadly, the boarding school we attended reinforced that impression even more strongly with white glove room inspections each day…during our devotions! (I cringe whenever I think of this!) For someone who wanted to please people, also not a healthy or Christian lifestyle choice, it was devastating. There were also enough rules to kill a horse. There was no room for feelings…at all!The tie-in with failing to excel in the inspection with GOD's displeasure of me was difficult to escape. Click To Tweet
The tie-in with failing to excel in the inspection with GOD’s displeasure of me was difficult to escape. Excelling at the inspection was nearly impossible when points were taken off for each hair found in the sink, each bit of dust found in odd places, each bunny found under the bed. This was not an inspection for neatness, but for OCD-ness I have come to realize. It was devastating to the more sensitive among us and it affected, of all things, our “behavior” score on our report cards! Talk about straining at a gnat!
Needless to say, I had much to unlearn both from my American culture and from my Christian culture!
It’s fun to see your children making progress in child rearing because of changes you made raising them
I watch my children interact with their children. I realize that I moved a few steps in a healthy direction but vestiges of unhealthy still remained when I raised our children. Now they move a few more steps toward healthy in some ways. I applaud them. I’m grateful that we were able to make progress. I trust they will be able to make progress too…while still helping their children learn the importance of relying on Christ…for forgiveness and courage and wisdom.
My hope for them is that they will have a healthy self-reliance while realizing their ultimate trust and reliance is in Him!
GOD’s grace was huge to us because of our time in Jamaica
GOD chose to bring healing to me in this area of priority in Jamaica by using their culture and the people, American and Jamaican, to do it.
I am forever grateful!
I’m enjoying reading about the lessons you learned in Jamaica. I identify with a lot of this- having to learn not to hide my feelings and also that deadlines and timekeeping are not always as important as I thought they were. I haven’t lived in a different country but have worked with a lot of people from different cultures and it’s always interesting what you can learn from people’s different outlooks on life. I’m impressed you managed without a watch for so long though- I think I’d really struggle with that!
Carly, it’s not like i didn’t have access to a clock at all. i just didn’t need to be quite so aware of the time. i was rather anal about it back then! jamaica knocked it out of me for sure! when you arrive at places on time and no one is there, it gets irritating. one friend said, “promptness is a waste of time” and it was in Jamaica for sure:) depending on how far in the country a person live, you could waste 1/2 hr. to 2 hrs. by being on time!
i love what i learn from people i work with who are from other cultures. they teach me a lot! this was a lot like that in spades:)