My dearest Beanie, who is twelve precious years old, has recently decided on a new life plan.

She’s decided to go to college in Hawaii.

As in, that collection of volcanic islands God placed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The islands I’m not sure He actually thought humans would try to live on, except for maybe in some sort of shipwreck emergency.

Forgive me, but I’m from a solid, land-loving kind of people. We do not venture across heaving seas to live on tiny rocks in the middle of shark-infested waters, especially if that venture puts us closer to the madman who is currently running the country of North Korea.

But back to Beanie and her life-shaking announcement. She’s decided that college in Hawaii sounds like the funnest thing ever, and she’s proposed her new plan to everyone from her grandmother to her father to her besties.

Of course her best friends are all about the same age so they think this plan is fabulous.

Distance to Oahu from Kalamazoo

The adults in her life are less excited about the plan.

“What about the travel? You won’t be coming home for Christmas,” we said.

“What about the cost of living? Do you know how much it costs to live in Hawaii?” we asked.

“What about the racism against white people and the homeless bums?” we pointed out. 

“Huh,” she said, then ran off to the computer to Google these very issues. Twelve year olds are caught in a strange place– still young enough to dream like children but old enough to understand the value of money, to a point.

She called me at work the next day with a report on her feverish fact-gathering. At first she thought it would be simple for her father and me to move to Oahu too, so she could live with us for free. But then she looked up the cost of a similar house on the island and realized it would cost WAY MORE.

Here, let me show you what we found:

cost of living Oahu vs. Kalamazoo

I’m guessing church secretaries in Hawaii don’t make 282% more, and I know writers don’t make that much extra. My husband’s company doesn’t appear to have a division in Hawaii, but maybe they’re just hiding it from our aforementioned North Korean Crazy Friend.

After a few days of all the tall people shooting down Beanie’s dreams with common sense, I suddenly got a little irritated at us all. What if this isn’t crazy? What if this is a desire that God placed in her heart? What if He has big plans for her there on those little volcanic rocks?

Let’s be honest, anything our kids want to do outside the county lines seems a little unsafe and unwise, right? How can I keep her safe if she doesn’t live right here and show up at my breakfast table every morning?

But God hasn’t called any of us to a safe life. He’s called us to bold, adventurous, giant dreams He places in our hearts. He didn’t give us the Holy Spirit so we could sit home and grow old on the sofa.

And that includes our children, if we’ve faithfully trained them to actually follow Jesus instead of just parrot churchy phrases.

I think that’s one of the best things we can do for our children– teach them to follow their dreams in a way that wisely considers the very real dangers and makes good decisions in light of all the good and bad possibilities. We have more experience to help them navigate the realities they will one day face– the debt, the need for an education, the cost of raising a family. We certainly have more common sense. But maybe we’ve lost that adventurous spirit over the years. (Having a mortgage will do that to you, I’ve found.)

Finally, a few days into these conversations, I leaned over to Audrey and whispered this: “You know you can ignore all of us, right? If you want to go to Hawaii, go to Hawaii! Let’s just find a way to do it so you aren’t strangled with $200,000 0f student loan debt when you get out.”

And she flashed me a big smile and said, “Okay. I think I can save money if I get a surfboard instead of a car.”

So we still have work to do on the reality check, but we’re headed in the right direction. Plus we have about six years to plan, so who knows where she’ll end up.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

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5 Comments on How to Help Your Kid Dream Big Dreams (with some common sense thrown in just for good measure)

  1. Heather C. King
    August 11, 2015 at 5:46 pm (2 years ago)

    What a balance, isn’t there, between sharing wisdom and helping them make sound choices and letting them step into the adventure of faith God has for them? On a personal note, my niece did go to college in Hawaii—-all the way from Virginia!! And, she’s planning on going back to stay. My nephew finished out his degree in China and is going back. My other niece is up near the Canadian border. They are a bunch of wild adventurers indeed! Pretty amazing until it’s your own kids you’re talking about, of course! I confess I’ve been telling my own kids about a little thing called “in state tuition” 🙂

  2. Jessie Clemence
    August 11, 2015 at 9:20 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh, we’ve been talking about that too! Luckily we know several young couples who are all paying back their student loans. We use them as examples all the time!

    August 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm (2 years ago)

    If she goes and you can’t get her there, you can pay me and my family and we’ll take her. Isn’t that nice of us? Btw, we might a find a beach after she has settled safely in her dorm. No need for thanks.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    August 11, 2015 at 10:23 pm (2 years ago)

    You are truly a great humanitarian, Larry. How great your sacrifice! Goofball.