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Thursday, December 16, 2010

We're all new here

Having an exchange student has been a learning experience for me. I've had to think about how we do things and why. It has been helpful to me as a parent to realize that all our children deserve to be treated as if they are exchange students.

With an exchange student I have to assume that when he does something "wrong" that it's not because of ill intent, but because he doesn't know better, and that it's my job to explain to him how we do it here. There are so many things I just assumed that he'd know, but he didn't. I've also had to decide what issues are worth the effort and which aren't. So while I will always explain to him my expectations, and the reason for them, if he then doesn't choose to comply I have a decision to make. Is this important enough to work on together or is it something we can live with as is? The factors that play into it have to do with who it affects, how many people it affects, what the cultural expectation are outside of our home (and how the world will deal with him if he violates those expectations), health, safety, etc... Then we talk again about all those issues and move on as best we can.

As a minority, RBers are kind of like exchange students. In fact, all our children are new here. They don't automatically know what to expect and what to do. What a freeing way to think about teaching these things to our kids! It really helps clarify what is important and why.

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