So what’s it like parenting twenty high school girls? When we told people we would be dorm parents to twenty high school girls, the expressions that greeted us almost always made me burst into laughter. So after two months of parenting, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into what life is like here in Haus Palmgarten.
First, as we’ve told you earlier, our girls have been living in nineteen different countries, but add another layer to that. Their passport says they are American, Canadian, Belgian, Korean. So what are the normal cultural expectations once they hit this hybrid German-North American culture at BFA? Bringing a sense of family living in to such a diverse group has been and will continue to be a challenge.
The challenges that teenagers face in almost every culture are the same ones our girls are facing. They are taking AP and Honors classes, PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests and trying to get into the colleges and universities of their choice. They are trying to balance playing volleyball, being in the high school play, doing chores around the house, completing their homework, and spending time with friends, just like kids in the States. They are wondering whether the boy they like will ask them to the Christmas banquet, or how to kindly say no to the boy who likes them.
Now add another facet to the spectrum. These teenagers hear of political unrest in nations around the world, and it’s not just a news story. It’s happening in their parents’ neighborhood. The threat of Ebola is not an interesting current events assignment. Their parents are living in these effected nations. Communication may or ay not be possible, depending on the availability of internet in the village. One girl’s parents had to leave their country because they were being harassed by the KGB. Yes, the KGB. Our girls take on these problems. They want to know their parents are safe, and that they will see them again.
And so we hug them, play games with them, provide them with snacks and delicious meals, do the best we can with duplicating favorite recipes for their birthday dinners, hug them again, pray with them, take them shopping on the weekends, explore the countryside on hikes and excursions with them. We try to make life normal and predictable. We provide a safe haven. We welcome them “home.”
Please pray with us. We need the wisdom and discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit to know when to hug and when to discipline. We need stamina to keep up with the constant pace of life, from very early mornings to very late at night. We need grace to live and work with a staff of four in close quarters on a daily basis. Please pray for unity, for charity, for the ability to forgive, for a supernatural, God honoring love to pour out to both staff members and students. Pray for protection and blessing on our marriage relationship as we live out an example of loving in front of watching eyes. Pray that our support would continue so that we can stay with these wonderful girls. We thank you and bless you!