Ruth Arnell wants to know:
Parenting on the mission field: Have some aspects been more difficult than in the States? Easier than in the States? I saw your family just hit the four year mark down there so I realize the fact that you’re now fully into the Teen Years will probably have a lot to do with what has been easier/harder since you were parenting Stateside! But in general…
The total shock of a new culture affected us all. When we lived in the interior we had to explain to our girls why the people stared at us without blinking. There was an acute shortage of pale-skinned people out there.
Our girls had few options for friends in that area. Most girls stayed at home and helped the mom. Routinely girls as young as 12 moved into town to work as maids or nannies. Survival is the goal. The men work the fields with the boys. The males leave the house to work so they leave the house to play as well.
Homeschooling took a ding with our move as well. We always homeschooled our kids. However, we moved from the cool November foothills of South Carolina to the oppressive un-air-conditioned swelter of South America. Studying was a task as papers flew everywhere from the full-throttled fans.
This is a highly sexual culture, and that made things both easier and more difficult. Easier because the girls have seen first-hand the negative consequences of certain choices. With pornography, molestation, spousal abuse, and out-of-wedlock pregnancies everywhere, it’s not hard to find examples of how much sin hurts.
The media outrageousness here has made it obvious where the lines fall between good and bad. In the US, we felt like we had to monitor their exposure to certain influences that were “slipped in” strategically and a bit disguised.
Here, the vulgar lyrics and the shows with the lewd acts are blatant. We just avoid them altogether. It’s easier to see the enemy, which makes things a little easier, in an odd way.
The hard part is how women/girls are treated here.
It’s common to see nudity in the daily newspaper, on the television, or on giant billboards. Much of the available clothing is very suggestive and made in sizes to accommodate a 5-year- old.
The relational environment is dripping with machismo. Men rule. It’s common practice for married men to have a girl on the side, with the wife’s knowledge and acceptance of this.
So women are disrespected and seen as sexual objects from a young age. I’m not a big fan of cat calls thrown at my teen-aged daughters.
When we landed here, they were 9 and 11, and they were already getting the wrong kind of attention. There’s no hinting or vague flirting—just overt invitations or gestures and at times, pursuits.
Some things are easier. It’s much easier to train a child in the art of service when there is need on every side. It is easier to learn to appreciate blessings when there is visible lack a stones throw away. They are learning things we’d have had a harder time teaching them elsewhere, such as multiculturalism and how to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a very real way.
Chad Jones wanted to know:
I do remember those commercials. I guess the starting point to this answer is whether or not the shrimp in question is cooked or raw. Has it previously been thrown on the barbie? If so, the answer is without a doubt pick it out, scan it for loose strands and down the hatch.
If it is raw I may have to rethink my stance. While I enjoy sushi, I do not indulge in the shellfish variety. It’s simple geographic logic.
We live in a land-locked nation many hundreds of miles from the ocean. Any raw shrimp making its way into my barba here will no doubt have traveled in the sweltering heat of South America for countless hours, maybe days, thereby deeming it the seed of the next international pandemic instead of fulfilling its destiny as a tasty appetizer.
However, if it doesn’t smell like the backside of a banshee then I could possibly use it. It could be the base item in a gumbo constructed solely from items taken from my beard. A disturbing idea for sure, but one this particular shrimp deserves. Thanks Chad.
Any questions about the questions, or the answers?