Crossing Borders started Second Wave in September of 2004 to address the needs of children who were born to North Korean mothers and abandoned by them. This was in the wake of the Great North Korean Famine, which claimed millions of lives in North Korea and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to spill over into China. When we started Second Wave, the average age of our children was about 5. This year the average age of the children in Second Wave entered into its teens at 13. Over the years our goal has always been to show the compassion of Christ to these children but this can take many forms. Is it enough to house them, feed them, educate them, and love them or do we need to do more?
As we look into the, now, very near future, we have set some priorities for our organization and our children. The skill we are focused on teaching these children is goal setting. We will know that we are achieving this organizational priority when more of the children in our network have clear career paths with short and mid term milestones to attain them.
This summer a team from the US traveled to Northeast China to address the spiritual and emotional needs of our children in a summer camp program, which lasted about a week. At this camp we had our first ever career seminar.
We had each of our children list their interests and talents and we had them map these on a matrix. From this matrix we were able to tell our children what types of jobs they were best suited for. Our intention was not to lock them into a specific career path but rather to get them thinking about what they might want to do when they finish their education.
We also had a seminar on how to set long term goals and then set short term goals on how to reach these long term goals. This winter we will host another seminar for these children where they will set a long term career goal for themselves and set smaller milestones on how to reach these goals. But, we are not under the delusion that this is our most important task. Most of us are parents and we know better.
Parenting is a grind. It is a selfless task that bears fruit -- good or bad -- decades later. As we raise these children, it is not our ultimate goal to have all of the children in our network employed by a certain date. It is also not our goal to only love them and nurture them for now. Raising children is challenging because parents have to think of both now and decades later.
What good is preparing someone for a good job if they lack character? How empty is a life filled with money and security if it lacks love?
Each day we carry our work forward with this in mind, asking God for grace for the things we might overlook.