Over the years we’ve had a lot of questions as to how our homeschooled kids will be properly socialized. There are plenty of articles arguing the benefits for and against being in a room full of kids your own age and the effects that has on a child’s socialization. Homeschool kids are not around their peers all day. However, the socialization they receive can be priceless.
I took my kids out for breakfast. We sat eating our pancakes and drinking our coffee, when an exuberant man, in his sixties, walked in to the restaurant with a huge birthday cake hat. We saw him smiling at us and we wished him a happy birthday. I kept waiting to see his buddies that must be meeting him to celebrate his big day. The man was smiling at all of the children in the restaurant, sweetly holding the hands of waitresses as they passed by and I soon realized that there would be no one joining him at his table.
A woman and her three small children walked past the man. Stopping them, he did a couple of hand tricks for the kids, bringing joyful squeals. He blessed the mom with, “You have lovely children” as she walked away.
The man approached our table and congratulated me on having such a beautiful family and homeschooling them. He knelt down and asked if he could tell us his story. Removing the attention grabbing hat, he told us he wore it (or other hats like it) to disguise the scars on his head where he had surgery on three brain aneurysms which had popped 31 year ago.
He told his miraculous story of courage, and hope and healing
He was a young man when he suffered the aneurysms and he had just quit his job to move across country and start a new life. With no life insurance, a wife and two young children, they accrued almost one million dollars in medical bills. Half of his body was paralyzed and his mental capacity was that of a 7 year old. The doctors who helped bring restoration to this man told him that it wasn’t their hands, but a miracle from God.
As this sweet brother shared his story, tears were flowing out of my eyes and he said, “Don’t do it! Don’t cry, now I’m going to cry! And I can’t cry. My life has been spared and now I need to fulfill my destiny of bringing joy into the lives of others.” It was difficult not to cry. Thirty-one years had passed and he was still grateful for his second chance at life. Back at his table now, he blessed everyone who walked by with a smile, greeting, joke, or little trick.
I wanted to pay his bill, but another guest from across the restaurant had already offered. Instead of leaving the restaurant we asked the birthday man if we could sit with him while he ate. He was so excited and asked if our little Cupcake could sit on his lap. She did and he goofed with the kids for several minutes. I shared with him my own story of miraculous healing 20 years ago and this time he began to cry as he said, “Ah! You know! You know first hand the power of the healing of the Lord! You must know Jesus!” We joyfully told him we did and he shared how God has given him tools to help with the effects of his injuries.
Wrapping up our conversation, he tearfully told me that because of short-term memory loss he would not remember us when we left. He wanted us to know how much joy we brought to his life and how he hoped he had brought blessing to us. He stood up to kiss me on the cheek after telling me his injuries at times make him socially unaware. We talked a bit about the power and love of God and how we don’t always understand his ways. He confessed it wasn’t really his birthday, but that EVERY day was his birthday, as each day for the past 31 years has been an incredible gift.
My children and I circled this amazing man and we spoke a blessing over him and he hugged us and he spoke his own special blessings over each of my children. We got home more than an hour later than I had hoped. It didn’t matter. My kids were socialized in the weird way homeschoolers socialize. And it was beautiful.