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A great resource: Looming Transitions

In conjunction with the other resources I’ve put together for TCKs, our calendar, our farewells, our transition journals, and our practice of lament, we are using some activities from Amy Young’s book Looming Transitions: Twenty-Two Activities for Families in Transition as we prep for our repatriation to Australia. It’s a companion to her book Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service. I recommend both.

The activities are divided up into categories. Some, like ‘Stay Grounded in Christ’, ‘Start Early’ and ‘Saying Goodbye’, we’ve got covered. But there was still plenty of great stuff in here. I’ve listed below the activities we intend to do.

Three about stress and how it works in families:

Idea 5: How do you know you are stressed? This one is about how we feel stress in our bodies.

Idea 6: Emotional reactions to stress. Laying a foundation for future discussions by identifying the ways we respond to stress (e.g. irritability, cloudy thinking, obsessive thinking, etc.)

Idea 7: Relational webs. In a family, everyone affects one another. This fun activity starts with tying the family together and then seeing how what happens to one happens to all.

Three thinking about ourselves and how we handle things:

Idea 13: How well are you known? This activity compares the strength of relationships in the two locations (e.g. kids at school in Tz vs grandparents in Australia), and asks what the differences are (good or bad) between those relationships. This is a lead in to the next activity.

Idea 14: God knows you. Using Psalm 139 to think about all the ways God knows us and how that can make a difference when the mountains fall into the sea.

Idea 15: Do you know you? Helping kids understand how their personality affects their responses in transition e.g. are you a ‘finish the task’ kind of person or a ‘near enough is good enough’ person? Includes making statements about each other, as a way of being known in the family.

Three looking back and forward:

Idea 17: His love endures forever. This is a paraphrase of Psalm 136, substituting in the gifts God has given to each of us from our time in Tanzania.

Idea 21: The many faces of sadness. Here, kids learn that sometimes when people smile they actually feel sad underneath, but they’re trying to be upbeat or brave. But we need to do something with our sadness, not just let it sit and fester.

Idea 22: Three steps for grieving. The steps are: tune in, name it, grieve it. A mantra not only for here in Tanzania, but for when we get to Australia as well.

Categories: Cross-cultural parenting Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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