One of the biggest gifts we can give our children is teaching them how to navigate the world outside their comfort zones.
We are all guilty of trying to make our children’s world so safe and so stable with such clear boundaries that sometimes it seems like they are nestled in the midst of a bubble that only allows them to see out, but not experience real-world situations. I know I am guilty of this very thing, but then I look ahead and worry about what happens when they do venture outside of the bubble. Will they be prepared?
This past week, our family traveled out of the country for basically the very first time together. Sure, we had been to some tropical destinations in the Caribbean, but they were comfortable family resorts with all the trappings of home. So, on this trip abroad I was just as eager to see how my children would adapt to a new environment and a new culture as I was for them to see the great historical sites on our itinerary.
I want them to experience a different landscape, different food, different customs, a different language, things that test them and force them outside their comfort zones. Of course doing it with their parents still gives them the safety net to make mistakes and be unsure. But it also opens the door for them to seek out adventure on their own as they become adults who desire and wonder to reach outside the bubble.
Even as adults, we get so married to our creature comforts that it’s hard for us to be flexible and truly enjoy and experience something altogether different from what we are used to. Travel out of the country is a good reminder that we honestly do have a wonderful life in the United States, but it also reminds us, and hopefully our children, that it’s a great big world out there and there is always so much more for us to learn.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.