I was still in single digits when my dad was the Business Manager and Professor of Church History at Nebraska Christian College. Life was good. Isn’t it pretty much always when you are 7?
Today my own daughter is 7 and I’d like to think her life is pretty much fun.
Little did I know it at the time, but my journey of becoming a Third Culture Kid was about to start. My parents did what was very natural to them and included us in the decision to move to England in an age appropriate way. I have memories about them sitting us all down around the dinner table and talking about a far away land called England, a plane ride and what a wonderful adventure it was going to be. Then they ASKED us if we wanted to do that! For the record some 20 years later I was going to have the same conversation with my daughter about a strange and wonderful land called America!
Little did they probably know that laid a couple very good foundational stones for the rest of my life. Allowing your child no matter how young to feel like they have a ‘say’ will help them feel empowered during a process that will almost certainly strip you of any feeling of being in control.
It also taught me that a parents attitude WILL influence how their child reacts. Later I saw this with other families (some in positive ways and some in negative ways) and later still I realised how much I appreciated the gift of a positive start that my parents gave me.
Disclaimer: Just because you are a positive parent and do everything ‘right’ doesn’t mean it is going to be a great experience, but I do believe it will help. Nor does it mean everything about the process will be positive. Trust me that’s not possible.