We want to go Home

1970 Ian HM Alex Beach

There was a general bustling and excitement in the household. We were going on our first furlough at last! We’d earned it after years of service in the country we were working in. International travel always requires careful pre-planning, and we’d waited anxiously while local authorities processed our permission to leave the country. At last we had papers in hand. It now required a journey of several hours to the nearest airport before we could even get started on the trip home.

Turning our house keys over to trusted friends we made final preparations to leave. Our two girls joined in with an exuberant spirit, helpfully bringing their precious treasures for inclusion in already bulging at the seams suitcases. We were running out of tactful excuses to avoid putting their treasures in those suitcases.

Travelling is hard on young families, and is a constant challenge for parents to find interesting things for little people to do with their time on a journey. Airline supply of games and colouring books eventually runs out, and then there’s nothing to do except sit for hour upon boring hour in restrictive aircraft seats. If travelling has any lustre at the beginning of a journey it soon wears off.

There is something even more alarming about furlough time which little people have to contend with. At the end of that journey to the homeland they’re taken to places quite unfamiliar and for several weeks stay with relatives they barely know. That in spite of frequent reminders they have Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts not to mention photos placed in strategic positions around the home to prompt a daily reminder our children have relatives other than adopted uncles and aunts in their place of residence.

Long suffering children are confused and frequently unhappy at abnormal restrictions placed on movement during a holiday like this and admonitions to present their best face with little or no relief as musical chairs are played with various relatives homes adds to their distress.

How they long to run and jump and make as much noise as they’d normally do in familiar surroundings.

Relatives note this lack of enthusiasm on the part of children during such visits and unfortunately interpret children’s lack of enthusiasm as a personal rejection. Thus the visit is even further complicated and at times unhappy. Fortunately when it’s diplomatically explained most relatives are mature enough to understand and accept the perceived rejection as just another case of juvenile homesickness.

So you can imagine our surprise after several weeks of living in a homeland society where water is safe to drink from the tap, food is safe to eat off the shelf and everything somewhat predictable and orderly to hear children tearfully ask in rare moments of privacy to take them back home! As far as we were concerned we were home!

Home for the children was not the place where things were readily available and things could be consumed safely, or for that matter where their parents had spent their own youth. Home to them was the place where things were familiar and unnatural restrictions removed. We understood what our children were trying to communicate and were sympathetic to their felt need.

We learned a lesson from that experience. Following furloughs was taken at a seaside resort in close proximity to our parents, relatives and friends. Fun on the beach during these holidays fitted nicely with our frequent interaction with relatives and slowly built an eager anticipation when it came time for furloughs.

They soon discovered it was not so bad being away from home after all!

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2015 All rights reserved

20 Comments Add yours

  1. What a great story, Ian, and also a message in not assuming we think the same as our children. I’m glad the following vacations were successful for all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now the grandchildren in the US like to vacation at the same spots in Australia their parents used to when we were on holidays from Asia. So I guess my girls must not have had such a bad time on their holidays. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. susanai says:

    I thought this expecially charming, Ian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess parents by and large tend to feel they’re expected to direct their children and in a sense we have to. The breakdown in society today comes from a tendency to let the child do what it wants without parental direction. But that has to be balanced by listening to the child’s felt needs too. After all they are emerging into adults and have personality and this needs to be understood. So direction should be in their interests rather than the needs of the parent, making them good citizens but also developing individuality and self directed purpose.

      Like

  3. I had to laugh Ian. It is helpful to remember children do not think like adults and home is generally the place the put roots, not necessarily where we are rooted. Lovely piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why is it Val that we are so full of ourselves in dealing with children and fail to comprehend they are adults in the beginners learning stage. lol. They need to be nurtured in a safe environment and listened to respectfully. That doesn’t mean you let them do their own thing without reference to how their actions will affect others in their society. Their learning needs sensitive guidance but with the goal always of helping them in the development of their individual personality.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you hit the nail on the head Ian, sometimes we are simply to full of ourselves.

        😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice post, Ian. You bring up insightful wisdom. Adventures seem like a great idea until you are swimming in unfamiliarity. There’s always a balance. I find 2 weeks of traveling my limit. I love getting out of my comfort zone, but I miss my routines and simple pleasures of home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My travel often took me out of my comfort zone for six weeks at a time under some of the most unusual and sometimes vexing travel circumstances. But memory seems to cull the good ones out as you grow older and you remember the pleasant times and relive them in your mind. Thanks for visiting and commenting Cindy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mags says:

    Hi, my sweet friend I enjoyed reading this and got a giggle from reading what your youngest daughter said about everyone being pink. Hope you are doing better and all is going well for you. I think about you and Georgine a lot and you are always in my prayers. Keep up the good writing and I will keep dropping by as I can. Thanks for stopping by and sharing with me about Georgine holding on the side of the trolley. I think the four of us could be good neighbors. 🙂 Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often think of you and the burden you bear at this point in time. Our prayers continue for moments of peace among your daily challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mags says:

        Thank you so much, your prayers are felt and so appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. borika45 says:

    this brought back memories of when hubby and I were in ministry, and returning home from faraway places. You show great insight into the minds of children. Staying at the seaside was a brilliant option. I thoroughly enjoyed this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Barb. I guess you learn by observation and experience don’t you? If we had our time over again with the children we would probably do a lot more listening. 🙂

      Like

  7. Aw, lovely thoughts on home and children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We sometimes take for granted children think the same way we do. We need to listen to them more.

      Like

  8. cardamone5 says:

    Thoughtful, and accurate, as usual, Ian.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose its all about any of us assuming others see things the way we do isn’t it? We need to be sensitive to other’s perceptions.

      Like

  9. jstansfeld says:

    My youngest daughter and husband are missionary doctors serving in Honduras, and so this piece was a helpful reminder for me at the receiving end of their planned furloughs.
    I have one amusing story from their first trip back. On the first day back we planned on taking them to a store. We stopped at the first traffic light and our three-year-old grand-daughter immediately asked “What’s wrong with the car?” we assured her that the car was fine. She asked again and we again confirmed that the car was fine, whereupon she asked, “So, what’s wrong with the road?” That’s when we realized that in Honduras they frequently stop because they have mechanical problems or some obstruction on the road – but not for traffic lights as there are none.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here’s a funny one in return. When our youngest daughter visited Australia after being nurtured in India and seeing dark skinned people as the norm she asked on arrival, “Why is everyone pink here?” So much for the myth of the white race. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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