When Carrie Burnett was a little girl, she wanted to change the world.
And she is. But not in the way she once imagined.
“It’s hard for me to feel like the ordinary things are important,” Carriesays. “I’ve always wanted to do big things, but recently I’ve been learning that my family is the most important thing.”
As a young adult, Carrie envisioned her life. She finished college with a degree in intercultural studies, and spent her first year of marriage to Jeff in Rio de Janero, Brazil. Their first year in Brazil was deeply meaningful, but terribly isolating. She experienced firsthand the value of community, and the personal toll of living outside of one. When a series of logistical decisions led the couple back to her hometown in Alabama, she was at peace with the turn of events.
But Carrie and Jeff remained passionate about serving others, and living out their faith within a community. Before long, Carrie became pregnant.
That’s when Carrie’s chance to change the world expanded.
Nine years later, Carrie and Jeff have three little girls, ages 8, 6, and 2. Carrie has joined small groups, led a MOPS group, and served her community in countless ways over the years. But her most important work sits around her table every night.
“I believe in doing everything with a purpose,” says Carrie. “I try to help my girls see the larger purpose in what we do. I want them to be in love with God, and not just follow rules.” Carrie pours her heart into her children. Day after day she focuses on teaching good behavior, rewarding kindness and communication, and showing her children how to notice and serve others – no matter how young they are.
She also works hard to stay present with her family. “Even hard moments are easier if we can just stay in them,” she says. “I try not to let my kids be a means to my end.” As much as possible, she builds fun into their daily interactions. “I want them to like us, and each other, too! We have fun together as much as we can.”
Carrie wanted to change the world. Through intentional, thoughtful, loving parenting – she is.
So are you.
As the mother of small children, it is easy to lose sight of a higher purpose. But every juice cup poured, every diaper changed, every book read is an act of love. Day by day, you are building a worldview for your children, a launching pad for the rest of their lives. You are shaping the way they see the world, how they will approach others, how they will relate to God. And as intimidating as that sounds, it happens naturally, simply by loving your little ones.
The patience you show with your children now will one day be the patience they share with others. The kindness you plant in their tiny lives will grow into self-respect and respect for others. The love you naturally share with them will, in turn, be the love they have to give in the future.
In a thousand small ways, every single day, you are changing the world.
I am Stephanie - mom to four beautifully rambunctious little kids and wife to a guy who still makes me smile. If you have ever abandoned religion in search of faith, ever had to leave your hometown to find your home, or ever climbed to the very tip-top of a jungle gym to rescue an overzealous toddler, you may enjoy reading more at A Wide Mercy. You can also follow along on Facebook.