planning ahead is not what I would call my strong suit. This is usually fine but where long-term child care plans are concerned, this is not the case. The Peanut is turning three this May, which means we are talking pre-schools, and frankly I just don’t have enough energy to drop-off and pick up at two different places. Pre-school for Rooster too!
Enter open house dates and applications, lotteries and waiting lists and calculating the cost of after care. The whole thing feels so pressing and complicated. Do we do a co-op for less money but more time? Do we have the money? Do we have the time? Do we want to put our kids in pre-school in the first place? Lets not even discuss the fear that is on the hearts of every pre-school parent: what if we don’t get in?
As I was considering all of this I ran across an article questioning the importance of pre-school. Basically it encourages people to relax. If you have a spreadsheet that outlines the pros and cons and various open house dates of all the pre-schools you are considering, chances are it doesn’t matter. Your kid is fine even if they don’t go to preschool at all. Preschool is hugely influential as a means to bridge the gap for those living in poverty or speaking a language that is not English at home, but if you have the resources to be discussing the merits of Montessori versus Reggio Emilia then either (or neither) is acceptable.
If we don’t get in, we’ll do something else and it will be fine. I feel much better.
The other pressing matter I have been thinking about is Pie-caken. I found out about this delicious monstrosity somehow via the magic of the internet. It is when you take a pie, and bake a cake around it. Then you frost it, your pie-filled-cake. I had never made one, but I mentioned it in passing to my friend and suddenly I had to try it. I had a long weekend coming up so I thought, why not? If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know that I became a little obsessed about the whole thing. It became very important.
All of this leads me to this Sunday when my friends Brooke and Erin-Leigh were interviewed. They are running a marathon in March and raising money for an organization called She’s the First. She’s the First raises money to send girls in developing nations to school, girls who are the first in their families to be educated. Hence the name “She’s the First. Making sure that the girls are educated alongside the boys is one of the most reliable, and cost-effective ways to help a nation out of poverty. The research on this is extensive and in agreement. Educate the girls, break the cycle of systemic poverty.
Erin-Leigh talked Brooke into running this marathon with her by convincing her that this organization is worth it. So, their personal campaign 26 miles for 26 girls was born. In the midst of marathon training these ladies are raising money for 26 girls to go to school for a year and have a better chance for the remainder of their lives.
Here is the part that made something twist in my heart. The cost of a girl’s education in Nepal for an entire year is $300. To put this into perspective, the cheapest monthly preschool we could find for a couple of days a week, is roughly $300.
And I wonder if the way I look at my world, the things that I am worried about, the stuff that takes up most of my brain power and a huge chunk of my money, is pie-caken. Am I praying for, paying for, agonizing over a myriad of rich people options (pie? cake? why choose? Pie-caken!) when my brothers and sisters across the globe are starving for any crumb I have left?
Pie-caken might be good, but it is certainly excessive, and brilliant mostly for the novelty. Too much of it just gives you a belly ache. I know that we need child care, that this is part of the life that the Lord has called us to, and I am deeply and truly grateful that wherever I drop them off, they have adults there who love and care about them, but perhaps this is occupying too much of my brain, too much of my heart.
I wonder what would happen if I decided to spread the wealth, to put as much thought into how to get one girl into school through She’s the First as I do about where my girls are going to go. I wonder what would happen if I begged God in prayer to get just one more girl in Nepal into school as often as I do beg him to show me where my girls should go. I am praying over pie versus cake and neglecting to pray over life and death.
I know that pie-caken is appropriate on occasion, that the Lord delights in giving me good and extravagant gifts. But what if I shared the wealth as often as I feasted on it? I don’t want to live a life of excess and novelty. I don’t want to get to heaven and only have to show for all I have been given a delicious monstrosity of a life.
I don’t have a lot of answers, just a lot of questions. But if you are interested in supporting Erin-Leigh and Brooke in their efforts you can donate HERE.
You can keep track of their training and funding progress by following Erin-Leigh on Twitter HERE and Brooke HERE. Or follow the story through the hashtag #26miles26girls. If you have a blog or a Bible study consider inviting them to tell your group a little about what they are doing.