There are times in life when you may find yourselves living in a place you never wanted to be. It happens all the time to military personnel and their families, as well as to civilian employees whose boss gives them the choice of moving to a new location or saying farewell to their job.

When a spouse and children are involved it can be difficult for everyone. No one really knows what lies ahead when a family moves to a new location. Once the decision is made, and you're on your way to "Please no! Don't send me there!" you can either hate it or love it. It's a conscious decision.

Our Challenge

We're remembering many years ago, during Air Force pilot training, and we were transferred to Laredo, Texas. When our orders arrived, so did expressions of sympathy from many military associates who told us that was the "worst place ever." They informed us, "It's dry. It's burning-up hot. It's on the edge of nowhere in a desert."

Fortunately, we had made a decision, years earlier, that wherever we lived we would enjoy it, no matter what. We met other happy families along the way who had made a similar choice. We found that living in a less-than-desirable place and loving it takes a little preplanning and an attitude adjustment.

Six Guidelines to Help Make the Move Work

1. As a couple, call a family meeting. Explain that you are about to embark on a new adventure. Show the new location on a map, and muster all the excitement you can as you share this information with them.

2. As family members express their reluctance and sorrow at moving, let them have their say. Acknowledging and allowing them to have their feelings can help. They don't have to be happy about it right away. That takes time.

3. Gather information about the new location: pictures, what the town/city is famous for, what the people are like, the schools, the churches, cultural opportunities, etc. Family members can help in the research. The more they know about it the more excited they'll be to make the move.

4. Once the move is made, jump in with both feet. Meet and make new friends. You'll find them as your neighbors, your co-workers and their families, and associates at church and school. It's the people you meet, the friends you make that will help you enjoy your new home.

5. Join in community service and events. This is a great way to make new friends and feel part of the community. There are many organizations that will welcome your involvement. You can find them by Googling "Community Organizations in (name of city)." Or, ask those who have lived there longer for suggestions.

Looking Back

We fondly remember our time in Laredo. It's a border town that allowed us to see the beauty of the Mexican people and their fascinating arts and crafts. It's where we made some of our best military friends, some we still have contact with many years later. It's where we learned that attending our church was a vital part of enjoying our stay there. It's where we were when we received the news that Gary's father had suddenly passed away. Our Laredo friends rallied to our side with comforting support. These were people who deeply cared about our well-being, and we cared about theirs. Once again we realized it's the people we meet that help us find happiness wherever we are. There are good people everywhere.

These six guidelines work. As you implement them, you will discover that you can love wherever you live.

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