In 2003 there was a movie released called “Lost in Translation.” The plot involved the unlikely meeting of two lost, lonely American souls in Tokyo and the development of their friendship as they try to understand their surroundings and a language they do not understand. Their confusion, frustration and anxiety could be likened to your first days on campus. We have our own lingo here, a schedule that looks like a Skittles rainbow, rules and expectations left and right…….it can be a bit overwhelming. You may feel “Lost in Transition.”
Transition; the movement or passage from one position, state, or subject to another is an inevitable part of life. Moving your family from one place to another is a huge transition and you may feel overcome with all the changes taking place. Your children might be exhibiting behaviors you haven’t seen in awhile (regressing) or acting out in ways that are not usual for them. As a parent you may feel helpless about what to do.
Let me reassure you, everything that you and your family are feeling is NORMAL, whether it’s going well or you feel like its falling apart. Your challenge in these coming weeks is to help your family adjust in healthy ways. This is the first of many moves in your life and it is possible to maintain normalcy and happiness when everything around you is different and changing.
I am a “child of the regiment” which means I am an officer’s child. I grew up in a 15 passenger van helping with tavern runs (we don’t do these any more so, you know how old I am), sorting Christmas gifts, leading songs in the Holiness Meeting………and I felt like I had a very normal childhood. Sure, I had friends who thought I lived at the Thrift Store and had parents who worked for an airline (weird uniforms), but I grew up with a very real sense that our family mattered to my parents and to God. To this day I am amazed and thankful at how well my parents accomplished that. This summer I asked them what their magic formula was and they laughed at me. Of course, they followed up with lots of good advice that can be summed up in the following suggestions for being “Found in Transition.”
1. Remember that your time here is a “season” in your family’s life. Your two years here at “1032” will be like no other. You will make many significant memories here. The schedule may present some unique challenges to the time you spend together as a family. Have a positive outlook with your children encouraging them to see what unique blessings God has in store for them here. Create special memories as a family; outings, family night at home, devotions, etc.. You know your kids best. Play to their strengths and consider that you may have to be creative to meet your family’s needs. When days are difficult, hang on to each other and remember this too shall pass.
2. Enjoy the blessing of community. Living, eating, studying, learning, and serving together is a very unique element of EBC life. Your family may dive right in to this social circle with ease and energy. Some of you might feel overwhelmed and, at times, suffocated. Don’t feel guilty if you want to have a night at home with no interruptions. Put a “stop” sign on your door and close out the rest of the world. If you love having your door wide open (literally) with kids in and out, go for it. Establish what your boundaries are as a family and make sure everyone knows why and how to communicate that to others. Your kids might need some help doing this, but if you think about it ahead of time and anticipate what you know will work best for you, it can help to curtail stress.
3. Keep Jesus at the center of your home. This is an obvious one, but in the busyness of our days we will be tempted let our family time with Jesus go. It’s too easy to make excuses and Satan will
use our lack of time in God’s Word to get in the middle of our God-ordained families and calling. The more chaotic family structure is, the weaker and more ineffectual our families become and the more Satan has control of our lives. Schedule family time in the Word. Mom and Dad, it’s not going to work without you writing it down in a place where everyone sees it and has to be accountable.
This also shows your children how important your family’s relationship is to Jesus. Spend this time in ways that are appropriate for the ages and spiritual needs of your children. Then sit back and see what God does for you!
Welcome to your new home. We are very glad you’re here. Remember that “God, who makes everything work together, will work (in your family) the most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:9 MSG.