Kevin and Ethan left last night for a missions trip to Haiti. This will be Kevin's 5th or 6th trip to Haiti (cant remember) and will be Ethan's first. Ethan has been nervous and excited about this trip and I think the reality of Haiti will hit Ethan hard. Owen went to Haiti in August and literally fit so well there that he wanted to live there. Owen is just the kind of kid that can get along fine wherever he is. Ethan is like that too but he likes the comforts of home and is greatly emotionally affected by things.
For example, remember the movie "8 Below"? It was a Disney movie that came out a long time ago but we took the boys to see it (this was before Mia I think) and we told them that two dogs would die in the movie so be prepared. When the first dog died Owen leaned over to Kevin and I and asked "ok the fist dogs dead-- whens the next one gonna die?" I then looked over at Ethan and he was weeping in silent tears and after the movie he lost it and was balling his eyes out.
You can tell from that illustration how my boys personalities differ. Owen saw the devastation of Haiti and took more of a worker view (much like Kevin)-- I can go and help by building up this place-- and he did. He saw the suffering but the suffering propels him to act. Ethan is not quite that way. He sees suffering and it hits him hard. I don't want to say he wallows in it beuase that is not the best way to put it rather he is deeply affected by pain and suffering and he takes it in and if affects all aspects of him. I think as Ethan drives from the airport on the 4 hour drive to Grand Goave and sees the children living naked in the center median of the road that he will be deeply affected. I think as he sees the people living in tents with the devastation around them that he will be deeply affected. I think this whole experience will touch Ethan at a level that is much deeper and stronger than it would others. He is an emotional kid and with that comes good and bad and for this experience I think it will be good to allow the emotions to overtake him so that his life will be changed.
Ethan is a good kid but he is also an American entitled kid. We are not parents that give our kids much. We make them work for what they have and we live a much more simple life than many others we know-- BUT, our kids still are entitled kids simply by being an American. To know they can go into the pantry and get food at anytime they please is a far cry from the life children live in Haiti. To know that a 13 year old boy in Haiti (Ethan is 13) is having to work for his family and earn money so that other family members can live is a harsh reality on becoming a man that boys in Haiti are forced into not by choice but by necessity. Our goal is to raise our boys to become men. Not boys in a men's body but MEN! Ethan is 13. He, by all accounts, is a man. Kevin read a book about raising boys to become men. It hit him hard. It was a book about how we coddle our boys and don't guide them to be men. That becoming a man is much more than growing into a mans body rather it is the responsibility of the father (mother too but mostly the father) to shape the boy into a man. This is done intentionally and over time by giving them experiences that will mold them into the man God wants them to be. A man who is not absorbed with himself and his abilities and what he can achieve and gain rather a man who has an eternal perspective who knows the priorities God puts on our lives. Obviously this happens over time but I will tell you the training process has begun in our home. Kevin is taking his role extremely seriously and he is the boys number one advocate for becoming men. This is something Kevin is driven to do. The boys are experiencing new levels of responsibility and accountability and not just in school work and sports but in all aspects of their lives. It is an amazing experience to watch the boys transform from entitled American boys to responsible young men. We are in the beginning phases of this and it takes a lot of work to allow them to fall flat on their faces and not save them because we know letting them fall flat is the experience they need to become strong. It is not easy but in the long run it will be so worth it.
So this is Ethan's voyage into manhood and I look forward to his Haiti journey and how this experience will play a part in shaping him into the man God wants him to be!!! I will be posting pictures Kevin sends me here on the blog.
On the final leg to Haiti
Acting like a goof ball!