Following Roads Less Traveled


Our guest post today is from legendary Richmond mom, Kerin Morgan. She has parented 11 children and now enjoys her first 16 grandchildren. Kerin is also the co-owner, along with her son, of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Richmond and Fort Worth, Texas. Kerin creates all the curriculum and training content for Aqua-Tots internationally. In her own words, she would say that she, “absolutely loves anything about water, children, mentoring, encouraging books, and intentional conversations with people.”

How I miss large paper maps! It’s unsettling for me to follow and trust GPS systems since they give such a limited perspective and are so one-dimensional.

I want to know where I am in a larger picture.

My husband and I recently plugged into GPS to get directions from the Homestead in far Southwestern VA to Lynchburg. As we traveled, it took us into smaller and smaller backcountry roads eventually leading us to a gravel road through the mountains in the George Washington Forest.

As we traveled these roads for an hour we considered turning around 20 times at least. How could this be right? Why would it really mean for us to travel gravel roads with sharp turns on the edge of a mountain and then through the middle of it? There’s no sign of civilization anywhere!

We were convinced it had to be wrong except for one thing: When it showed there would be some sort of crossroad, I would check that small screen and sure enough, there it was. That satellite must surely have seen us! The names were either non-existent or not the same until towards the end. But our confidence in that gadget grew as we could cross-check that it saw us!

As we began to see, in that little screen, the signs of the destination, we grew more relaxed and comfortable…even if it was 45 minutes into the hour-long drive before that happened!

I began to see how many times in our lives we’ve followed a road that seems, for all practical purposes, wrong — if not in our eyes, certainly in the eyes of those that observed us.

We were choosing the roads less (if ever) traveled!

First of all, the decision after our 5th child to continue indefinitely to have children until my body stopped at 11.

How often others (and occasionally us) thought we were crazy, ignorant, and old-fashioned and to some, even irresponsible! What kept us going was keeping our eyes not on the present but on the destination. We knew we were investing in the next 250 years through our children. We may never own much stuff or have a big investment portfolio. But we would have love and character and truth we would pass to others.

I thought of the years we became “hucksters” doing whatever job it took to provide for our family.

It grew us closer together and it taught our children work ethic and appreciation for what they received. They associate that the value of money is associated with the sacrifice of time and energy. To this day, they know how to work and help through their time and energy and talents.

I looked back on the decision to homeschool our crew even though I knew little about the journey.

It became quite the ride. I learned more about myself as I had to become a learner and remember, in the daily grind, the goal of this humble but rewarding road.

I thought of our decision to put a pool in our backyard so I could teach people to swim and then train my children to.

We lived check to check in a neighborhood that doesn’t put pools in their backyard. Even I, along with my parents and others, thought it was crazy! But my husband insisted that the gift of 18K we had received in an inheritance was to do what we never dreamed we could ever do. That was to have a pool for our large family so I could share my passion with my children and serve our community. Who would know that it would one day become our livelihood!

I thought of the decision to help a local ministry by offering to prepare a meal for a fundraiser — for 500 people!

I had never catered for over 50 before! My eyes were certainly on the desire to serve well and figure a way to make it work. This led to having confidence later to do all the flowers and décor and food for both our daughter’s weddings — for 380 and 500 people!

How many people told us this was insane? Yet it became such a beautiful thing to see it all come together in glorious and beautiful celebrations. I learned to ask for help and rely on the gifts of others. Who would know that one of our sons would one day help with weddings on every level? Floral design, catering, planning, and performing.

I thought of the decision we had made that, rather than go directly to college after high school, our children would all instead experience a “GAP year.”

They would invest in others in another culture or with needs so they could see firsthand how unbelievably blessed and privileged we are as Americans. They served in Ghana and Honduras and Thailand and the UK to name a few. Our children had rich experiences that influenced their worldviews and helped them grow in compassion and understanding and gratefulness.

I recalled our decision to stop being our own independent swim school (Morgan Swim School) and marry into Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

Many thought we would lose our identity and that we were crazy. Never could we have imagined what a blessing the change would be. It would allow my influence to extend far past Richmond to all over the world as I developed curriculum and training for the company.

Most recently, I thought of our decision to stay in our 2100 sq. ft. home that we raised our family in.

We decided to invest in adding a little to it and updating it rather than move. Many thought we were crazy but it has already been such a wonderful choice for our circumstances that I know it was right.

And the list could go on.

How often have we only been able to see only behind us and with only a small idea of where we are going?

How often have we felt we should go against the flow and move forward even if it was against all odds?

How often did we have to decide that the roads we’re called to travel as individuals or couples or families are unique to us because the compilation of choices we make help us become who we are?

How often did we have to resist pleasing others or going with even our best logic and step forward in faith with our eyes on a larger goal not really knowing all that would be involved in getting there?

Momma, I encourage you to set your eyes on what your heart is convinced is best even if it feels like a gravel road in the middle of nowhere!

Be adventurous and go against the flow if your eyes and heart are convinced it’s right even against all logic. Seek the wise counsel of others and then decide on what best serves you, your spouse, and your families!

Travel well!