I am in Bangkok and will be writing later about my ministry visits, Thailand, and my visit to Compassion in particular, but today I need to write about my daughter, who is teaching at International Community School in Bangkok. She is about 8 months through a two year assignment teaching grade four. I spent today with her at school and my buttons are popping!
Every parent lives anticipating the day when they will see their children grown up and living as independent adults, doing what they love to do. Skyping, email, Facebook and phone calls are great for staying in touch, but nothing substitutes for actually going and seeing firsthand what their situations are.
So, here I am in Thailand and seeing Jessica for the first time on her turf, in her world, with her friends and workmates, and staying as her guest in her apartment. My little girl, my firstborn, has grown up!
Things that impressed me as her father
- I went to her cell group, where she is the only non-Thai, and she participated quite well in the Thai language. They love her. I went to her church,Jaisamarn Full Gospel Church, and met one of her pastors, and he said the church thinks very highly of her too. It is most gratifying to see a child who has developed a godly character and who is well-esteemed by other believers and the general public.
- Today I met her principal, fellow teachers and her students, and they all speak glowingly of her. Professionally she is exactly in line with her gifts and call. It is a joy to see someone working within their call because they do it so well. The students love her and their affection for her spilled over to me.
- As an aside, half of her students called me “Mr. John,” while the other half called me “Uncle John.” One of them seemed to know that I’m Dr. John. I was deluged with requests that I play with them at recess. So I played soccer at the first and four-square at the second. These kids are great soccer players, even at 10 or 11 years old! You should see their fancy footwork! I managed to score one goal, so I wasn’t completely useless. I have never played four-square before, but I made it to the third square. One student laid me flat on the ground as I tried desperately to return his very low and fast spin ball! Batting it back would be easy, but the rule is you have to hit it back the same way it was sent – so in this case, I had to put my own spin on it. (That’s a lot more difficult to do with a ball than to put a spin on something with words and that’s what put me on my back!)
- As I watched the way Jessica introduced an entirely new concept to her class today (arrays), I marveled at how she got their attention, simplified the concepts to start with math ideas they already knew, and then built on prior knowledge to introduce brand new concepts. She made it look easy.
Where is the girl whose diapers I used to change? Who I taught to ride a bike and drive a car? Who I took to see the symphony for her first dress-up formal event? The one I took to Montreal? The years have flown by so quickly! And now we enter a new relationship with each other not just as parent-child, but as adults on more or less equal terms.
As I think about all this, I appreciate all the more the wonderful job my incredible wife did as she chose to stay at home and do the hardest and most significant work of all – be the primary caregiver to our children. “Well done,” say I.