Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Teach your parents well 

(I'm strongly tempted to just take Sherri's Why Blog? Quiz, as that would be easier than writing on an original topic, but I've let too many potential blog posts slide in the past month or so.)

Another busy weekend. One of the things I managed to squeeze in was an interview with my kids. Y'see, I'm working on the second issue of our newsletter for the supporters of our China venture. One question we often encounter is "How do the kids feel about all this?" and Noodles thought that that would be a good topic to feature this month. (Beats the heck out of $100 vaccinations.) So Saturday, with dreams of a light-hearted article that would write itself, I grabbed a steno pad and started interrogating my young'uns.

What a reality check. I've been assuming that both kids were just little mirrors of Noodles and myself--a mixture of stress and excitement, with a dash of trepidation. The reality is that neither child has any real desire to make this venture. They're both resigned to it, of course, but the main emotion they feel is fear that they won't like it. I know, I know. I should have been able to figure that out.

It was very much of a downer, as the guilt started rolling in. Ironically, I had just watched Lost in Space the night before and had thought how stupid it was for them to drag their kids into potential danger like that. Now I was thinking that I wasn't all that different. Had my desire to support Noodles' dream led me to become a neglectful father? I tried to think of rationalizations for putting my kids through this whole process. The problem was, they were all pretty weak. Sure living abroad can be an incredible experience for them. But the bottom line is that our venture is about us, not them.

The question is, is that a bad thing? Should the needs and desires of the children always trump that of the parents? I have a strong sense that our going to China is the right thing to do. And I don't believe such things occur in a vacuum. In other words, if it's right for Noodles to go teach in China, it's also right for those affected by her decision, especially us members of her immediate family. That doesn't mean it's not going to be difficult, but in the end, it will be better to go than to stay home.

Or I could be wrong. Ah, I think this doubt shall bloom on every bad day we have. But I guess that we'll just have to make the best of it, even as we would have to do if we stayed home and kept on with the status quo.