I still have so much to write about our Benin trip, (believe it or not) but I have to deviate for now so I can record some stuff currently going on at home. I don’t want to forget some of these things.
I believe that God really desires to bless me. I have the audacity to think that this hot season may not be so hot yet, because the Lord knew how much I was dreading it – let me just say it. I was afraid of our first hot season here in Niamey. We are now well into April – smack in the middle of hot season. And though it’s hot, it’s not HOT. This morning was actually cool. Maybe in the low 70’s. Thats very unusual for right now. I take it as a blessing from God, straight to me.
The kids got their report cards last Friday. They are all doing so well and we are proud of them. Since they are doing so well, I don’t think they’d mind if I publish their grades. Please allow me to brag once again. Trae, a Jr. had straight A’s – Bible, British Lit, Digital Video, French, Econ, PE, Physics, Precalc w/ Trig. Comments: shown creative side, good attitude, delight, exceptionally well, very capable, keeps teacher on his toes. Tanika, a Freshmen also did exceptionally well with 4 A’s & 4 B’s, bringing her GPA up from 3.2 to 3.7 this quarter. Comments: works hard, proficiency increasing, improving, delight in class, gift for writing, takes initiative. Gotta love those adjectives! They deserve it. They both study hard and are motivated to do well. Tobi loves school, but the academics don’t come easy for him. His report card is basically a list of objectives with checks that show whether he meets, exceeds, or doesn’t meet said objectives. He ‘meets’ everything. He exceeded in 2 things – Music and PE. Hmmm….Needed assistance in using punctuation and telling time. His favorite ‘outside subject is PE’, and his favorite ‘inside’ subject is handwriting. Handwriting? His teacher says he motivates the class to write because he likes it so much. He got an ‘E’ – excellent for effort in almost every subject listed. And very important to me are all the other things that are considered in elementary school-listening, quality of work, takes responsibility, organizes, participates, shares, self-control. respect, establish/maintain friendships, etc. He received an ‘E’ on every one. Comments: good worker, enjoys writing, always does his best, works hard, kind spirit. These character issues are of great importance to us – things we work on at home. It’s a blessing to us to see the fruit in his their behavior at school. I made ice-cream to celebrate.
Last year while in the US (by the way we left here for the US one year ago today), we bought the Brady Bunch. The whole series. Didn’t know until then that there had been only 5 seasons. We thought it would be fun for the kids to get a dose of 70’s culture – American style. We have been watching several episodes each week. Trae and Tanika enjoy it because of it’s corny humor. Funny, I don’t remember anything corny when it was aired prime time! We have had so much fun watching it with Tobi. He cracks us up. Though not at all a TV/movie guy, he is a Brady Bunch junkie. He’ll correct the kids out loud when they do something they’re not supposed to be doing. He’ll try to tell Greg – through the TV mind you – that Bobby is spying on him. He is so animated when he’s watching. Enthralled is he word that comes to mind. From the first scene he can tell you what that particular episode is about. I’ve been trying to explain to him that they are a TV family but don’t really live together. I don’t think he wants to deal with that reality. Other than drumming, I don’t think I’ve seen him so invested in something. It’s almost an obsession. Almost scary.
Today we watched the final episode of the final season. I almost thought he was going to go into mourning. So I decided to check on the internet for something that would show the Brady’s ‘then & now’. The conversation that followed went like this:
Tobi: I wish they would do 10 seasons. Are they still alive?
Mom: I think so. Except Mr. Brady died about 15 years ago.
T: How did he die?
M: He had a disease.
T: Is he in heaven?
M: I don’t know. (I didn’t tell him that the disease he had may have been an indication that he was in fact, not in heaven.)
T: So will I see him there?
M: I hope so. If he knew Jesus.
T: What about the rest of the family? Are they Christians?
M: I don’t know. (I’m not being very helpful)
T: Where do they live?
M: I don’t know, but they don’t live together. Some of them probably live in California.
T: I want to see them on this earth. Do you think when we go to California we can see them?
M: We don’t know where they live.
T: Maybe we can ask someone that knows and they can take us to their house.
M: Speechless, and then – I don’t know, but you do understand that they don’t live together?
T: Well, I want to see them, but I hope I can see them in heaven.
M: I hope so too.
T: Did you ever see them pray on TV? Did they go to church?
M: I saw them pray 1 time.
T: Does that mean they’re not Christians?
M: I don’t know.
T: Begins to walk away sad.
M: Tobi, did you know that you can pray for them now? So if they don’t know Jesus, you can pray that God will send someone to tell them.
T: I can?
M: Yep! (Not sure why that was a surprise to him.)
Then ensued a discussion of praying for those we don’t know and people who don’t know Jesus and what we’re doing in Niger.
Later on I came across the few shells I collected on the beach in Benin when Tobi and I took a walk together. We talked about how one of them looked like a sunrise. I showed it to Tobi and asked if he knew why I collected the shells. He said ’cause you like the sunrise?’ “Yes”, I told him, “but I also collect them because when I look at them it helps me remember our time there.” Long pause and then, “Sometimes I don’t like to remember.” “Why?” I asked incredulously. Fighting tears he said, “Because it makes me sad and I want to go back.” “But would you rather not have the memories?” Smile returns as he says, “No, I want the memories.”
Whew! What an emotional day for the kid! After that we talked to Grama and Grampa in Minnesota where they have recently been dumped on with 20″ of wet snow. It’s April for goodness sake! They sent pictures and I must to say they make me grateful for my 100 + degree temps! Tobi on the other hand said he wants to go to America when there is snow and asked what would happen if we walked in the snow barefoot (he wears shoes to school only because they force him). I told him that we wouldn’t walk barefoot in the snow. That there are various footwear requirements for snow-walking. Then he said, “I want to build a ‘snow clown’. Is that what they’re called? What are they called?” At least he knew ‘snow clown’ didn’t sound just right. Poor kid. He doesn’t know what to call a snowman but they guy speaks 2 languages, is learning a 3rd, and could probably tell you how to get out of a sand drift. The life of a 3rd culture kid!