About fifteen years ago, we started home-schooling our two sons, Allan and Angus. The concept of Christian education was rare in Scotland with only a handful of tiny Christian schools in the whole nation. Also, the idea of home-schooling your kids was totally weird to most people. However, I had long before decided from my own terrible childhood experience of Scottish public schools that putting them through the same system was not an option. So homeschooling it was.
With the total lack of Christian education curricula in Scotland, we turned to the USA and ordered a complete first-grade curriculum from Abeka curriculum in Florida. I’ll never forget the day the UPS sack arrived in our home and all these wonderful books and other resources were spread out all over our kitchen table. I wept tears of joy that my kids were going to get taught every subject from a Christian perspective.
There was just one problem. Everything was American. The boys were learning American history, American geography, American currency, American spelling, American everything! Here we were in the remote highlands of Scotland, turning two little Scottish boys into experts on everything American. When we visited stores in Stornoway, they would say out loud, “How many dollars is this, Dad?” Strange looks all round. Thankfully they did not (yet) have American accents.
A Crazy Pledge?
It all came to a climax one day when I was teaching the boys American history and the lesson required them to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance. I remember looking out of the window across the Atlantic ocean towards America as they recited the pledge, and thinking, “What are we doing?” It seemed crazy. What possible point could there be in this? What a waste of time. It was almost treasonous!
Another time I was teaching them the State birds, and I specifically remember when we came to Michigan’s robin (much bigger than the British one, of course) and thinking, “We’ll never set foot in this place and here we are learning about its State bird!” Was I mad?
A Wise Providence
What I didn’t know was what God, in his wise and mysterious providence, had already planned for me and my family. Six years later I would be emigrating to the USA with my family. The kids were already “Americanized” and knew their nickels, dimes, and quarters better than I did. And now, today, fifteen years since my boys “pledged their allegiance,” we are heading to Detroit for our final U.S. citizenship interviews. “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
As I’ve been prepping for the American Civics questions, so many of the lessons I taught the boys are coming back to me. Angus hardly needed to study at all because it’s all so relatively recent and fresh to his young mind (Allan’s already a citizen through the U.S. Marines).
There are so many times in life when we have no idea what God is doing with us or where he is taking us. It’s only later, sometimes many years later, that the seemingly crazy puzzle pieces begin to come together in a beautiful way. As Jesus said to someone else: ”What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this” (John 13:7).