Today I’d like to do something a little different. Our topic is helping children adapt to another culture. A few years ago I wrote this children’s story to illustrate the importance of preparing our children for change. For those of you with children, reading this story together may give you a springboard for discussing the changes they have experienced. For those of you without children, I hope you will be blessed as you take a few minutes to read a children’s story. [Read more…]
Distractions are the topic for this week. As I was thinking about this topic, I saw some different causes of distractions and some possible ways to deal with them.
I am the kind of person who likes to plan out my activities for the day. I used to schedule far too much for any one day and then be frustrated because I wasn’t able to complete my “assignment.” I saw anything that interrupted my schedule as a distraction from my “real” work. It has taken years for me to see that often the distractions are the “real” work for the day.
What makes the first year on the field so tough? Here are some answers from those who have been there and helped others through that time.
Some things that happen before you go to the field make a difference about how difficult that first year will be. A one month field trip is invaluable. Lea says, “This sounds like expensive advice but I have found out through lots of experience working with PWs that it is one of the best investments anyone can make. This month long visit not only helps prepare a person for what to bring when they come out but also opens their eyes to a few of the difficulties they may face overseas. ”
Developing a close relationship that you can continue through email would be a lifesaver. We all need someone we can confide in and having someone not related to our board or field will give us much needed perspective when we go through rough water. Many of us have found, however, that the “folks back home” cannot relate to our field experience, so someone who has lived overseas would be the best type person for a confidante.
In November, 1990 a group of PWs from various organizations met together for a monthly fellowship meeting. We talked about the problems we faced when our husbands were traveling. Some interesting problems were voiced in our small group.
The most common problem had to do with the shifting of roles when our husbands were going in and out. How the husband and wife responded to the separations greatly effected the adjustments they made. One lady’s husband had been gone on a three month trip. She gave him a week or more to ease back into his role as head of the home because she was sensitive to his need to unwind before picking up the reins again. For another family the husband needed to quickly resume his role. He felt he no longer had a place in his own home when she carried on as she had been while they were apart. One wife whose husband was gone frequently for short periods found that the children were confused by the role shifts. It was necessary for her to continue making the decisions and disciplining the children for the first twenty-four hours or so after his return. This gave the children a sense of security in an otherwise disrupted schedule.
Some of us have a gift for hospitality and some of us find it hard. But all of us are called on to be hostess to a variety of people. When we live in a foreign culture, hospitality can take on a whole new meaning.
Being ourselves and doing what comes naturally seem to be the keys to being a good hostess, no matter who are our guests. When we are trying to figure out what is “right” or what will look good to them, we are thinking more about ourselves than our guests. When we put their comfort and needs first, our responses will be natural and put them at ease.