I am 47 years old and I have never owned a passport.
True, I have been out of the country to places in the Caribbean but that was back in the days when you could go on a cruise or fly to certain regions with just a birth certificate.
In fact, I had not even gotten on a plane until I was nearly 20 years old. We just didn’t have much money when I was growing up to take exotic trips overseas and in my younger years I was not much of a risk-taker. Even now, I’d prefer a trip to Disney’s Epcot over going to actual countries because I do not enjoy flying at all!
A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a very wise friend who said something that has stuck with me since then. We were talking about our young-adult kids and the things they are all doing and she said, “I want my ceiling to be their floor and I haven’t even reached my ceiling yet!”
What a great way of looking at how we prepare our children for adulthood!
I have three daughters and each has a distinctive personality and a different “comfort zone.” My oldest daughter traveled to Ireland in January on a college exchange program and will most likely end up living in New York City soon. My youngest hates cities, but traveled to Barbados in the spring for a field hockey tour with her club team. I was actually surprised for two reasons that she did it— first, she has never been anywhere away from home without at least one family member and, second, we told her she could go only if she paid for it (and she did!).
I was surprisingly calm during both their trips compared with how, a decade ago, I would have been worrying nonstop.
My middle daughter, who turns 18 in a few weeks, is in many ways the most adventurous of the three but has not ever traveled anywhere on her own.
A few months ago, however, I suggested she look into going on a missions trip to Saint Lucia through Youth with a Mission, but when she saw that it was two weeks over her birthday and she would not know anyone going, she talked herself out of it. I didn’t really pursue it with her, until I heard my friend say: “I want my ceiling to be their floor and I haven’t even reached my ceiling yet!”
So I brought up the missions trip again and my daughter had a look of longing in her eyes. But then she started rattling off the list of excuses of why she shouldn’t go.
I’ll be gone two weeks. I won’t know anyone. I’ll have to fly by myself. How will I raise the money? I’ll be away over my birthday. I can’t do something this big…
I interrupted her and asked her, “Does the thought of it give you butterflies and stir your heart every time you think about it? If it does, and you talk yourself out of it then I think you know what you should do!”
She admitted that it did stir her heart and by the end of the day, with no further conversation, she decided to go. She leaves July 30.
It really isn’t that I talked her into going. It was more about teaching her not to be afraid and talk herself out of things that are both scary and amazing opportunities. I often have defaulted into limiting myself and my kids based on my own experiences and anxiety, but that’s not what the Bible says I should do.
Philippians 4:13 reads I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
It doesn’t read “normal things” or “easy things.”
It reads “all things.”
With that in mind, hope I can also make my ceiling the floor for my girls. I want them fearlessly to take advantage of every opportunity that is part of God’s plans for them.
And maybe one day, I’ll even get my own passport.
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