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March 5, 2013

A Traveling Child’s Best Feature

I’m pretty sure my kids don’t appreciate the life that they have. 

They say they do. They recognize that their life is not normal. But really, I don’t think they get it.

They have no frame of reference for what it means to sit in a classroom for eight hours a day, every day, for instance.  How can they appreciate the freedom of their educational experience without that? 

None of them can ever remember a time when their experience included any less than two countries, or three languages, at a minimum. That American culture is what defines “normal” doesn’t even occur to them. They like it here. They like that everyone speaks English, that the bathrooms don’t cost a quarter to use, that we can use washing machines instead of hand washing in buckets and that their best friends are within driving distance, but they like other places too.

We got an old book about Tunisia off of a free shelf yesterday.  Elisha flipped through the pages, pointing out the places we visited and the town we lived in.  “This makes me homesick, Mama,” he sighed.

Technically, our kids are American, THIS is their home… but when you’re homeless by choice and the world is your classroom citizenships get blurry and it turns out that the globe shrinks quite a bit and we end up homesick for somewhere almost all of the time.

My kids definitely don’t appreciate the life that they have. I’m not sure ANY kid appreciates the life that he has, not really. It isn’t until much later that we develop the perspective on what was, vs. what could have been, vs. what is possible that any of us appreciate our life or our choices for what they are. Perhaps that lack of appreciation is really my kids’ best feature. A complete lack of perspective allows them to just grow up, take it all in, not be overly impressed by any of it, and assimilate it all into whoever they are in the end.  It’s fun to watch.

Posted by | Comments (1) 
Category: Family Travel, Vagabonding Styles


One Response to “A Traveling Child’s Best Feature”

  1. Nancy Sathre-Vogel Says:

    Agreed. I always say that my kids do understand – one level. Enough people have told them that they have had an extraordinary childhood that they do believe it. That said, for them, biking from one end of the world to the other is normal. They can’t imagine a childhood without that. Kids are shaped by what they take for granted.

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