Dig a Hole To China

Janelle Esker from the website Peaceful Haven is our guest author today!  Janelle and I met in our writers group called Hope*Writers.  As I saw her work I just knew we spoke a similar language!  Her website touched my heart and I was so blessed that she agreed to join in on this summer series.  

When I read this post I wanted to head to the store for shovels...but I didn't think the people buying our house would appreciate it.  Hole digging is going on the top of the bucket list for the next house!  I know you will enjoy reading this just as much as I have.  


Guest author Janelle Esker
Dig a Hole to China

Reminiscing about bygone Summers makes me laugh.  Six kids will do that to you and from time to time you find yourself spontaneously combusting into laughter.

When my children ranged from age 2-13, as a way to keep them busy and keep them out of trouble, I let them dig a hole to China in the backyard.  We had just recently finished a unit study on China and specifically Hudson Taylor.  Learning about Hudson Taylor's life in China and the 51 years as a missionary had peaked their interests.  One of the things that we learned about was the geographic location and gigantic size of China and had even discussed how the United States is the geographic opposite of a portion of China.

That's where the idea came from...

Regrettably, I did not ask my husband's permission to start the giant excavation. The first day I allowed my crew to dig they made a lot of progress.  My son could stand in the hole up to his waist! To say the least, my better half was a bit startled upon his arrival home!  I'll just say this though, kids can be persuasive.  My grubby faced delighted children greeted him with such enthusiasm that he immediately caved.

There may or may not have been a "what were you thinking!?!" uttered later that evening once the kids were in bed.  I felt he really should not have been so surprised as I am generally known to have some outrageously creative ideas.

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That's really how one of my best Summers ever started!

Digging that hole to China did in fact, keep them busy, as well as teach them the power of teamwork within a family.  I did have to invest in more sunblock than usual, but they were so healthy from the exercise of digging in the fresh air and sunshine that my freckled children never had to go to the doctors that season not even once.  Their creativity took new and fascinating turns as the hole to China turned into a Lego construction pit, a pond on rainy days, a campsite, a doll vacation spot, the Oregon Trail and a whole host of other thrilling endeavors.  This intensive project provided me with many hours of laughter, valuable discussions with my kids, tons of family fun, daily screen-free activities and a whole lot of laundry!

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So what happened to the hole to China, you might be asking?

We tried to fill it in the best we could late in September.  Funny how there wasn't enough dirt to fill in that huge hole?  We did what any family with six creative kids does and made a goldfish pond in our backyard.  A few years later we filled in the hole completely and yet there is still a divot when you drive the lawnmower over that exact spot today.

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Today my creative children currently range in age from 28-17.   One owns her own business, one works for the church in Honduras, one works for a corporation as a computer scientist, one is a missionary to Ireland, another is in college to become a dancer and my youngest will start cosmetology school this Autumn, a dream come true for her.

Am I glad that I allowed my kids to dig a hole to China?    ABSOLUTELY!


Janelle Esker is the creator of , the grateful wife of Michael and the mother of six amazing children. She lives with her family, 4 cats, 1 dog, 3 ducks and 12 chickens in scenic Ohio. Janelle received her B.A. in Education from Ohio Northern University. She is the author of CHOSEN: On e Family’s Journey with Autism.

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