I’ll never forget the time that, when asked about her daddy, then-four-year-old Brianna said, “He’s a good fixer.”
And, he is. From washing machines to headless Barbie dolls, TVs to plumbing, Brian can fix most anything. One of the smartest things his parents ever did was apprentice Brian to an appliance repairman when he was a teenager. He learned to fix washing machines, televisions, refrigerators…just about anything. I’m not sure it’s just a natural aptitude with him or if it was that early training by someone skilled in repair, but it’s been a blessing to us. There’s nothing that Brian won’t at least attempt to fix…and he usually succeeds.
Just yesterday, he replaced two belts on my van, saving us lots of money in repair bills and labor costs. The belt slipped off Monday night. He tried to fix it that evening, but it was really too dark to see, it was getting late and he wasn’t sure about one particular thing. So, the next day, he did what he usually does when he’s unsure — he asked someone who knows about car repair.
Yep, he asked. This is the same man who *will* stop and ask for directions. He’s not afraid to ask for help. I admire that. I’d much rather him ask someone who can give him some educated direction, than just fumble around and get us lost or make a costly mistake.
I think, as homeschoolers, we have the unique opportunity to present our children with apprenticeship training in areas that interest them. With their more flexible schedule, homeschooled teens have a unique opportunity to learn through experience with someone skilled in whatever the teen’s area of interest may be.
I think this has another interesting application, too. Last night, I finished reading the book Season of Change, by Rebecca Ingram Powell. It was a thought-provoking book that I highly recommend to parents of middle schoolers. The last chapter talks about a child’s relationship with God. The gist is that the middle school years begin the time that we have to start letting our kids exercise their faith and letting the Holy Spirit begin taking over the job of guiding them.
Mrs. Powell was saying that we need to be our children’s spiritual apprentice. She pointed out that Jesus took His disciples with him on His journeys and taught them by example. The middle school years are a time in our children’s lives where we need to begin letting them see our faith in action from the front lines, so that they can become more than a fan of Jesus, but a follower of Him; more than one who admires Him, but one who has a relationship with Him. We need to make sure that our kids know that it’s a good thing to ask Him for direction, that they don’t have to wander around aimlessly, but that they can go to the Expert with all the questions that they have in their lives.
The middle and high school years offer a wonderful opportunity for apprenticeship, with both vocational and spiritual mentors, an opportunity for our young adults to learn to be good fixers and faithful followers. What natural aptitudes does your child possess that could be cultivated by a skilled mentor?