Below is a letter I once wrote to 3 young girls (in Kindergarten, Grade 5, and Grade 6) who were getting ready to leave America and move to a new country where their parents were stationed. I had heard from a friend that the girls were having a very hard time saying goodbye to their friends and family. I have removed their names for privacy purposes and have decided to make this letter an address to all little explorers who are getting ready to make yet another transition in life. Be strong my little friends!
Dear little explorer,
It must be very hard to believe that you will be living in a new place soon!
How do you feel? Excited? Sad? Both?
Did you know that my parents are missionaries? Me and my 2 brothers and sister used to live in Thailand and Canada, and we didn’t even live in America until I was 8 years old! I have had to move a lot before, so I know that saying goodbye is very hard. It can make your tummy feel sick, your head hurt, and your chest feel very uncomfortable. It can make you want to cry a lot. Sometimes it can even make you feel angry, like you want to scream. Have you felt any of these things lately? How do YOU feel when you have to say goodbye?
Winnie the Pooh said something that I think about a lot. He said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
I want to tell you something that I just learned recently… saying goodbye is courageous. Courage is when you decide to do something even when it is very difficult to do.
Some people, when they need to leave, choose not to say goodbye so that they don’t have to feel sick and yucky and so that they don’t have to cry. But they don’t know that goodbyes are VERY important and healthy for us! Even healthier than eating carrots and broccoli every day!!!!! Do you know why?
Have you ever opened up a can of soda after someone has shaken it up? What happens? It fizzes all over the place! Little explorer…did you know that you are just like a can of soda? It’s true! Whenever something hard or sad or scary or even exciting happens in your life, it’s like someone has picked you up and given you a shake. If something small happens, like you find out that you are out of ice cream, you get a little shake. Then, when you open your soda can, it fizzes a bit and maybe some soda comes up. But finding out that you are moving to a new place and then having to say goodbye to good friends and family…that’s like someone has shaken you a LOT, and what happens when you shake up a can a lot? What happens when you open the can? Soda everywhere!!!!!! Soda in your face! Soda on the ground! Soda on the dog and the cat and the little sister!! Soda on mom and dad too!
Okay, so maybe you aren’t actually a can of soda. You won’t spill out soda if someone shakes you, will you? But we DO spill out other things…this is why we cry or scream or laugh or even feel sick. It’s because so many of our emotions have been shaken up like a can of soda, and they need to come out SOMEHOW. Some people think that they can keep all their emotions and tears and screams and laughs inside, but I’ll tell you a secret… our feelings and emotions ALWAYS come out. Sometimes they come out now, and sometimes they come out later when we don’t expect it. But when we hold in our feelings and don’t let people see them, those feelings can get even harder…like someone keeps shaking up that can more and more and more. And what happens when we shake a can of soda even more? The explosion gets bigger!! Or for us, there’s even more sadness and crying and tummy aches.
Little Explorer…I want you to know that feeling sad and crying is very good for you. It helps release all that fizz building up in your soda can. And even though it’s very hard to say goodbye to friends, family, and even your house and your car…it means that you are courageous! Good job!! As it comes closer to your leaving date, I dare you to keep being courageous and say goodbye to more than just your friends. It’s okay to say goodbye to your room, to your favorite restaurant, and to your school too! Say lots of goodbyes now and let yourself be sad and let yourself be happy too! This feeling of sadness will not be there forever. Even the Bible says (Psalm 30:5) that “Crying may last all night, but joy comes in the morning!”
I some good news for you too…news that is very important to remember… you never have to say goodbye to Jesus. He is going to be the same Jesus that is here with you in America, and He will be with you on the plane, and he’ll be with you when you’re in your new home. And more than that, He wants to hear ALL about how you are doing! So tell him all about how you’re feeling, and tell your mom and your dad, and it’s okay to tell your siblings and your friends too.
Just remember, that when you have said all your goodbyes and are ready to move on, you will be taking part in an amazing adventure! You get to fly across the world in a HUGE airplane! You get to explore a country that none of your friends and family have EVER been to before! You will get to eat new things…some things that are REALLY tasty, and some things that may make you want to stick out your tongue and say “Yuck!”. You will have so many stories to tell your friends and your family, and that is a very special thing that only you three and your parents will be able to do…show your friends and family your new home! Take lots of pictures of the people you meet, the animals you see, the food you eat, and all the amazing and strange and weird things around you. Then you can send them home and let your friends and family see something that they would never have the chance to see without you showing it to them. You are now a certified explorer of the world, and that is a wonderful thing to be!
If you ever have a question for me about what it’s like to move or to be in a different country, let me know and I will be happy to give you the best answer I can give!
Or if you ever want to share a picture or a story about your new home, I can post it here on this blog and share it with other people too!
With a big thumbs up and a fist pump,