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This video is part of a series on Applying Cognitive Psychology to Enhance Educational Practice that you will find on the Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab –

Several people who offered comments either directly on the Becoming an Intentional Father post, or via email suggested that there have been many benefits to “dragging” my family across North America. I have to agree that the several moves that we have made over the years have contributed to the positive formation of my boys character and to their grit and resilience. These moves have also opened up the boys to the fact that there is huge world out there that can be explored. We live in amazing time when one can easily take a car, train, ship or airplane and see any part of the world. Traveling to different locations on a vacation is also a wonderful way to see the world but until you actually live in a new location and immerse yourself in that culture you don’t fully understand the uniqueness of the different cultures, regions and people.

Change David Jakes

When I reflect on all the moves we have made and look at how my boys have grown I can see so many benefits. I originally wanted to focus my attention on the most significant character building benefits that a father wants to see in his children but after creating the list below I realize that I may be better to introduce each of these benefits in this post and then deal with them in greater detail in future posts. A positive result of our move is that the boys are much more:

  • Adaptable – they can now easily adjust to many different situations and circumstances.
  • Appreciative – they value what they currently have much more and value the opportunity that change brings and have also learned to appreciate what they can live without.
  • Accepting – they have learned to accept the uniqueness of different people and cultures and are less inclined to pre-judge.
  • Resilient – they have been able to bounce back to daily routines, responsibilities and “normal daily life” much quicker with each move.
  • Open to change – they are now embracing change and the opportunities that it brings and are a looking forward to the new adventures that are in store with a new move.

The moves have also contributed to a(an):

  • Expanded comfort zone – they have learned that they can sleep anywhere, use any type of bathroom, be open to trying any type of food and adjust to whatever circumstances we are in regardless of how uncomfortable it may be.
  • Expanded opportunities – they have learned that new locations offer new opportunities learn new activities (like air-soft, windsurfing, DH mountain biking, skiing, caving etc.) not to discount what is learned from the people and the culture in the new local.
  • Expanded mentorship – they have learned that wherever we go there are positive role models and mentors that can share a unique perspective on life.
  • Social networking (face2face not virtual) – they have learned that you don’t wait for people to friend you first in a face2face setting but you have to step out and take a leadership role and make the first moves regardless how uncomfortable this may be.
  • Expanded physical challenge – they have learned that you can live in 40 C heat or cold, with fire ants, poisonous snakes, scorpions and black widow spiders and inhospitable terrain.

Jim Dobson has stated that values that children learn about life are not taught rather they are caught from their family and their circles of influence. Prior to our first move many years ago I had been aware of Dobson’s perspective on how children learned values and had hoped that the moves were were planning to make would result in the boys catching the right values and making the most of these opportunities.

While the circumstances of moving to new towns, cities or countries have provided the circumstances were these positive attributes can grow the key aspect to having values being caught by your children is that you possess them yourself. When my wife Marilyn and I model and live adaptability, appreciativeness, acceptance, resilience and openness to change and so on, our boys have the opportunity to “catch” these values as Dobson suggests and make them their own. Don’t think that Marilyn and I have been perfect models. We have our ups and downs but for the most part we have been consistent in being open to change and new opportunities and I think it is paying off. How?

Our boys are starting to model these attributes back to us. The most recent move to BC has been very challenging because I had to narrow the scope of my job search to the lower mainland of BC and also had to limit the job opportunities to one that paid enough but didn’t require the type of time and commitment physically and mentally that a senior executive position required. When the BCIT position came up I almost didn’t apply because it was for a 6 month temporary contract and I wanted something more certain. Caleb’s attitude to the opportunity reminded me that I need to be more open to change and to the opportunities that were presenting themselves. He stated:

“I think you should take the temporary BCIT position. It gets us to the lower mainland which is where we want to be and once you are there you will be able to find other opportunities. It may even be easier to find a new job when you are in BC because companies see that you are already there and won’t need to move you. Dad, I know you will find something.”

He was right, I needed to move out of my comfort zone and step out in faith and trust that new opportunities would present themselves. He was also right; there are all sorts of opportunities that I can see now that we are here. It is exciting see that growth in my boys and even more exciting when they encourage me to be all the things that I have helped them to be.

Dan Brown challenges the value of a traditional post secondary education.