Surrounded with teenagers

Adding nine teenagers to our crew for a week was a new experience to say the least. Monday through Friday we did little else but try to keep nine teenagers and our three young boys doing something. They fed and harvested chickens, baked, cooked, made jam, did wood crafts, canoed up and down the river outside our front door, fished, had family devotions or quiet time, cleaned out the old chicken coop when they forgot the rules, took turns with meal preparation and clean up, watched the documentary Fresh, prepared our small brooder for tiny guinea fowl keets (so cute), woke up early to get the keets at the post office, etc. It was a cold and wet week, so we changed a few of the original plans.
How did we do it? First, we had a lot of planning going into the week. We had a schedule set and posted. A meal plan was in place. We were flexible with the plan, the schedule, and the meals, and adjusted them when weather or other circumstances arose. The most important factor was that we had help. Mat’s mom was the school kid’s chaperone for the week. She has had lots of experience and she does an awesome job with large group events. Mat’s dad happened to have the week off and helped with much of the outdoor activities. He is also amazing and a non-stop work machine.
Anything we would have changed? I would have been more proactive in dolling out work. These kids were willing to move if directed. I do think they were kept plenty busy though, because nothing was broken. I would have been more intentional in getting Dena, Mat’s mom, to rest. I had mandatory rest time because I laid Josiah down three times a day and realize this was extremely helpful for my sanity this past week. I would have tried harder to not expect these kids to act like Christians (because most weren’t) and given more grace. I would have been firmer in my expectations and quicker to show authority when disregarded.
Saturday came and we took a much needed vacation. We are all worn out. Overall, we feel good about our time with them and hope they feel the same.
If you have, please continue to pray:
• Mat and Peter both had deer ticks this weekend and Mat’s is developing a rash.
• We are getting a few pigs for pasture today and have never raised them.
• Our week is filling up fast, Mat will likely need his rest and I am hoping he does not over work himself.
• We will continue to receive groups throughout the summer and fall.

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