Friday, January 18, 2013

Jodi Chambers - How can you leave your family for so long?

It was interesting to hear the responses from people when they learned I was going to Africa for 13 days and would be away from my family for 26 days - “Wow, that’s a long time to be away, how is everyone going to manage?”

It wasn't easy to leave, I am going to miss some significant moments in the lives of my kids. However, I deeply believe continuing to develop who I am (what I know and what I have experienced) will improve my ability to positively influence who my kids will grow up to be. Through my volunteer efforts in Ghana I hope my children will learn the following:
  • Be brave and do things that scare you. Face the challenges and accept the opportunities put before you. Life is so short and we just don’t know what tomorrow holds for us. I recently lost a dear friend and was inspired to take on this challenge by her commitment to promote immigrant opportunities in Manitoba. She worked in the Province of Manitoba and she never hesitated to travel the world to share the benefits available here in Winnipeg and greater Manitoba.
  • Serve and help others, it will positively change your life and the lives you touch. I am guilty of contributing to the “have” and “immediate satisfaction” culture that my kids live in now. We have volunteered at Winnipeg Harvest with our kids and have tried to expose them to the realities of poverty but it is such a difficult concept for them truly understand and appreciate how blessed their lives are in comparison to so many other children.
  • Learn to appreciate other cultures. Through your ability to be inclusive and encourage diversity, you will gain the respect of people and make some true friends. Thankfully this has been the norm for my kids growing up. They know nothing less than a culturally diverse classroom and circle of friends. Their natural acceptance of others and their beliefs is incredible and will significantly change the future of our world.
  • Independence is important. There will be times when you need to be confident in yourself and will step away from the crowd to do what you believe is right. This is most important for my daughter. We raise our kids that everyone should be treated equal and to expect nothing less in how people treat you. My daughter is the only girl on her 8A1 hockey team and she socializes and engages extremely well with the boys. I want her to take those skills and share them with other girls, continuing to develop women to be equals around the world.
I know I am gone for what can be perceived as a long time and have concerns and fears about how my adventure will unfold. However, the stories and experiences I have taken from others who have already been to Africa confirm for me that it will all be worth it!

And to my family - if you are reading my blog (which u should be), I love you and will miss you. Take care of each other. I will be home before you know it!

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