Wednesday, June 5, 2024

RAFT and more preparations

     At the recommendation of some trusted friends and people from Mercy Ships, Jeff and I recently read a book about Third Culture Kids (TCK). If you aren't familiar with this term, TCK is something that is used to refer to kids who have spent a significant amount of time outside of their birth country/culture and thus don't really feel at home in either that country or the one they are long-term visiting. This could be missionary kids, military kids, or just a kid whose parent took a job for a significant amount of time in another culture. 

    While this book is full of great ideas on helping the kids transition to Mercy Ships, it has been super helpful to apply to both Jeff and my life as well. What we are applying right now is the acronym RAFT.


R- Reconciliation: Make amends before you leave. Don't leave any grudges behind. 

A-Affirmation: Say "Thank you" to everyone who has helped you

F-Farewell: Don't duck out in the night. Say a proper goodbye to everyone and every place. 

T-Think Destination: Research and plan for fun once you arrive to make the transition easier

Right now we are sitting with each of these and make sure we do them well. Who do we need to have a heart to heart with? The list of people we could say "Thank you!" to is growing by the day, how do we let them know we feel that sincerely? It is easy to avoid saying goodbye to people as it is so emotional, but we have a list going for us and kids so we don't miss anyone. We also have a list of places to say goodbye to... one last visit to Tango Frozen Yogurt, my favorite breakfast place, the kids favorite park, etc. We are going to the ship, the Canary Islands and then Sierra Leone... how do we research all of those places for ourselves and our kids so we know what to expect?

As Jeff and I think through each of these, we are then applying them to ourselves, to each other, but then each kids individually. And this is where the TCK aspect comes in. How we answer each of those questions above is vastly different for our teenager (how am I old enough to have a teenager?) than for my little bubbly 7 year old. Sure, they are only 5.5 years apart, but at these ages, they are on different planets emotionally. That park that is super important for Sadie to say goodbye to, isn't even on the radar of Lauren.  And while sure, all of parenting and giving each kid individually what they need, they are not cookie cutter children, this season is making those difference more and more obvious. 

Thank you to all of you who are helping us parent well right now. Your conversations with our kiddos do not go unnoticed. These next few weeks are going to be busy, but we want to do them well.

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