It all made sense. And then it didn’t. But maybe it does.

We’ve spent the better part of the school year grappling with our decision not to return to this school next year. Our time here has been phenomenal-both professionally and personally-but it is time to move on. When our day to day life no longer aligns with the vision we have for our family it is time to make a change. And that’s where we found ourself in late August. And we made a change.

We debated continuing teaching internationally, but what at one point had felt meaningful and in line with our bigger vision, just didn’t seem to fit the same way. We were craving home. Of course, we were dreaming of our romanticized version of home-foggy mornings, warm coffee, hiking in the woods, and trips to the farmers’ market-and over time that vision slipped away and was replaced by my worst memories of living back in the States-commuting, commercialism, and uninspiring education. My processing only came in extremes. And it was exhausting.

In November I traveled to a beautiful school for professional development. The facilities, the faculty, the city all seemed amazing. The families that were there shared their stories and all sounded incredibly happy with family life. And it became my shiny penny.Β 

Somehow over the last few weeks I became focused on a specific place rather than a specific vision for our family. And that’s a mistake. There is not a place that can make us into the people and family we want to be. That comes from us-from the time, effort, and intention we put it into the decisions (both large and small) that we make.

For our family, we value travel, outdoor adventures, educating ourselves both formally (in school) and informally (through life experiences), playing games and eating dinner together on a regular basis, and cultivating traditions of family and faith.

These things are geographically independent. If they are our priorities we can make them happen in a variety of settings and I don’t need to (nor should I) get overly focused on a place. I need to be open to the settings before us and mindful of the ways we can strive to be the best version our family in any situation.

And perhaps that’s the lesson that wrapped up in all these difficult months. At first it made sense. And then it didn’t. But now? Maybe it does.

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