Two years ago (25 months exactly) we transitioned to a new church, new state, new city, new schools, new community, new micro culture...a lot of new. Transitions are never flawless and any transition in life brings on challenges & joys.
As a family the transition for us has been challenging at times. In the totality of the 24 months we've had to rethink life, rhythm of life and keep coming back to the key values that make up our family. If you going through or have gone through a major move/transition your family will also have to navigate this transition. There are always going to be the basic aspects of WE GOTTA FIGURE THIS OUT.
- Where are we going to live?
- Which school do our kids go to? Which schools do we want our kids to go to?
- Did we set up our utilities with the right companies?
- Nobody told us about the weird tax laws our new state has & how they work?
- What do you mean driver's license & vehicle license plates takes you to 4 locations to get figured out?
That transition list can be very taxing & overwhelming. It takes time & it takes consistantly addressing the never ending to-do list. But there are some other specifics that we've learned that matter a lot more.
While your family is different than mine, I do think some of these key elements can be used an applied to any family processing through a transition.
Rhythm & Space
We are family that likes making sure we own our calendars & our calendars do not own us. We are intentional with our use of time & planning out our months. In any transition your family needs to have a rhythm & space to process. To do this well your family needs to know who they are & what makes them thrive. Trying to find living space & play space that worked for our family was really hard. Which meant trying to establish our rhythm went out the window. We found ourselves grasping for both and it wasn't easy. But staying focussed to pursue both, consistently, has allowed us to learn how to adapt. For some families a week, or a month or a year is a lot of time when it feels like life is constantly crashing and chaotic, but slowly as the spinning stops you being to see clearly a little. Find for your family how that can be in a space & rhythm that works.
Quantity & Quality Time
Setting up consistent, quantity moments with your kids, your spouse and even the dog are needed. These are touch boys to how people are doing. They CANNOT become checking on bills, dealing with issues and crisis management. They NEED to be nurturing, caring, laughter filled and fun pursuing times. Your kids need help processing the elements of the transition they are going through and as a couple you need to know how to care for one another. Be ridiculous with your calendar of scheduling Quantity Time together. Be creative! Go Simple. Try something new or go with what is tried & true. But don't skimp on your family needs.
Maps & Time Zones
Where is the grocery store? We need a mechanic? What hospital does our insurance work at? These questions can create significant moments of frustration when you feel clueless. We noticed we spent a lot of time with google maps when we first moved just to get a bearing on where to go. But, just finding where to go wasn't enough as we had to learn when we were allowed to go there, time zones. I'll never forget pulling into a Target at 930pm and they were closed. Where we moved from Target was open till 1030pm. Easter Sunday we observed parking lots were empty cause certain business closed down for the day...that was new to us. And when we needed to get groceries cause we hadn't shopped yet for the week, well lets just say that was an interesting Easter Dinner. There were several learning curves of when and how our local area operated with maps & time zones.
I will say this is THE MOST important aspect of your family going through a transition. Hold onto the identity that is true and healthy. Kick out anything that would want to hi-jack your families identity! Who is your family & where are you going? If this isn't a question you've ever thought about I might say major transitions will be very hard to thrive through. Surviving for many families is easy. You go through the motions, check off the to-do list and live in monotony. But to thrive as a family that is focussed on health with pursing Christ's kingdom you have to know Who you are & Where you are going?
This isn't a geographical question but a strategic, Kingdom blessing as a family question. How are you living out God's Story in your family? How are you pursuing being a blessing to others through your family? What makes your family unique in this world? How to the individuals of your family, whom are individually created by God, add to the overall story your family is living? In what ways does your family actively find ways to serve, love, care, share, engage & bless the world you live in?
These, and more, are all questions we have been processing since our family began. We have to keep coming back to these, because Who are Family is and Where we are going matters greatly to our Identity.