The school year has ended and the bags are packed to head back to the US for the next two months of summer vacation. (Okay, so Tyler is getting left behind until he can join us mid-July.) As we look back over the past year, WOW! Is the best word to describe it. AMAZING on so many different levels would be another. HARD, really hard, would summarize the year as well. One thing is for sure, Conner, Thomas and Hailey have grown in height, Tyler and Karen in wrinkles, but ALL of us have grown extensively in ways that are not visible to the eye and a little hard to capture on paper, but we will try.
Growth in understanding the World: Conner says it best, “People need to get out and see the world.”. Conner’s World History class experience here was unlike any he would have had in the States. He sat in a room with people from all over the world, expressing their opinions and viewpoints. He learned that not everyone likes America. Each of our children has become friends with people from all over the world and as a result, their understanding of the world has changed. Hailey has also realized that everyone should know their own nationality. I have had conversations with parents in finding out where they are from, where they have lived and those parents have admitted, it was time for their children to spend some time living in their native country so they know about the traditions and customs there. Hailey also stated that every child should start learning a second language very early in life — she has one fifth grade peer who is currently learning their 4th language.
Growth in understanding India: Prior posts on this blog share some of what we have learned about India. It is truly an amazing country. I am not sure we could have landed in a spot more different from where we came so we have a lot to learn. Thomas states that India has the “best priced chips.”. (If you buy their local brands they are super cheap–if you want an imported brand, like Doritos, plan on paying $10 a bag.). Conner would acknowledge that the government is corrupt and many extensions of that government, like the law enforcement, lack good ethics. Hailey would add that for many, being a child in India is very different. Social services would be called in immediately in the US if they witnessed the lack of parental guidance, and the environments that many children here call normal. Thomas says he is definitely more humble from all the poverty he has seen.
Growth in how we view our own Country — the United States: Living outside your country helps you to learn a lot about things you didn’t even realize in your own land. For example, “not all toilets are the same”, “the internet is most important thing in your life,” “even the homeless in America have it better than most people in India.”. These are just a few comments from our children on things they have discovered about their own country through simple, day-to-day living experiences.
Growth in us as an individual — Tyler surmised early on in this journey, that we would not be changing anything in India — rather it would be changing us. How true this statement is and at this point, it is a little hard to fully understand exactly how each individual is changing from the experience. Patience is one attribute that is being tested for sure — the ruling is still out if it has made us less patient or more at this point. Deep inside each of us, though, the things we have witnessed and experienced are helping us to become something better. I believe gratitude is one of the attributes that is growing most within us — gratitude for very simple things that are very often overlooked.
INCREDIBLE is how Tyler and I would explain how our children have handled this experience. We could not ask for better children. We are so very pleased with the way each of them has persevered, overcome many changes, and grown in ways that have yet to be revealed.