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Turning My Kids’ World Upside Down

By Angela Hallstrom

So, we’re moving. If you’d have told me a year ago I’d be saying such a thing, I would have looked at you like your head was on backwards. But a lot can happen in a year (e.g. reversals, epiphanies, startling answers to prayer, not to mention a good long stare into the eyes of middle age coupled with the realization that you’re precariously perched halfway up the creaky, swaying staircase that is the national economy) . . . and before you know it, you’re doing what you’d said you’d never do again.

We moved to Minnesota in 1998 so my husband could go to grad school, and after my husband graduated he got a good job with a local company. We had a nice life in Minnesota for almost eight years—lots of positive experiences—but it was hard to be so far away from family. And Utah was home to me. Utah had Slurpees and good alt rock radio stations and mountains and gynecologists who didn’t 1. look at me incredulously upon discovering I was 30 years old and pregnant with my fourth child and 2. ask me what’s up with my underwear.

So when my husband’s company offered him a position that would allow us to move back to Utah, we snapped it right up. Four and a half years ago we moved into the house I assumed we’d live in for a good long time. Four and a half years ago my oldest child was in the fourth grade, which meant it was high time I get my family settled. Myself, I’d lived in the same house since kindergarten, and I remember feeling a little sorry for the “new kids” who’d inevitably show up at the beginning of the school year looking cautious and bewildered.

I didn’t want my kids to have to go through that. Especially not as teenagers. I wanted my children to be comfortably tucked inside a neighborhood, a ward, a community. I figured adolescence was hard enough without the added complications of newness and insecurity. I wanted to do the best I could to ensure my kids would feel like they were on the inside, looking out.

And now, after four and a half years of putting down roots, I’m yanking them up.

We’ve spent the past couple of weeks frantically trying to ready our house to put up for sale so we can be back in Minnesota by the end of August. My oldest son is going to be in the 9th grade, which is high school over there, and my daughter will be a 7th grader in a 6th-8th middle school. If we’d stayed in Utah, she’d be a 7th grade junior high newbie, just like all of her friends . . . but now she’ll be brand new AND expected to navigate her middle school schedule (and those swarming halls!) as if she knows what she’s doing.

It makes my heart hurt.

But here’s what I know: the promptings my husband and I have received about the rightness of accepting this new job and making this move are pretty unmistakable. Every time I silence my fears long enough to really listen, there’s a stillness and confidence inside me that I’ve learned to recognize as the spirit. I have faith that, ultimately, this decision will benefit my family. And my kids are doing surprisingly well with all the changes. My oldest son has told me he’s “looking forward to reinventing himself,” and my daughter, who was teary and anxious during the first few days as we made this decision, now seems relatively calm and settled. (My two younger kids just want us to “buy new movies” to watch in the car during our 24-hour trek across the Midwest.)

But I also know that my kids seeming okay right now isn’t the best measure of how they’ll react when the reality of all these changes actually descends. I also know that a spiritual confirmation over the rightness of a decision doesn’t exclude the possibility that the path will be hard. In fact, sometimes decisions are right because they’re hard. God’s funny that way.

I’m trying to remain hopeful, though, that my prayers over my kids’ happiness will be answered, and that God will help me smooth the way for each of them. I’m going to do my best to be proactive and observant and positive, to help them in any way I can. But here’s the truth: each of my children will walk through the doors of his or her new school without me, facing the complicated maze of hallways and sea of unfamiliar faces. When the lunch bell rings, my child will have to stand there, alone, holding his tray and figuring out where to sit, and there’s not much I can do to change that or make it easier.

My kids are good kids. Funny, smart, kind. I know they’ll eventually make friends and settle into their new realities. I also understand that staying in Utah doesn’t offer any kind of reassurance that they’ll breeze through adolescence unscathed (heavens, no!). Here’s the difference, though: if my daughter had a tough 7th grade year here in Utah, she could blame it on life. If my daughter has a tough 7th grade year in Minnesota? She can (and probably will!) blame it on me.

But I can take it. Right?

All these things shall give us experience, and shall be for our good.


I hope.

Did you move as a teenager? Have you moved with teenagers? Stories with happy endings are encouraged. Horror stories are permitted in the service of truth, provided that you end the story with the sentence “but of course this will never happen to you.”

About Angela Hallstrom

(Advisory Board) grew up in Utah, then moved to Minnesota, then came back to Utah, then packed up her husband and four kids and moved to Minnesota--again!-- in the summer of 2010. Although she loves the Land of 10,000 Lakes, she dearly misses Slurpees, Sunday dinners at her Mom's house, and eating a whole entire Cafe Rio pork salad while lunching with her Utah-based Segullah sisters. And yes, she finds it telling that everything she misses about her hometown is somehow related to food. She has an BA in English from BYU, an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University, and has taught writing to high school and college students.

38 thoughts on “Turning My Kids’ World Upside Down”

  1. I'm the oldest of three kids. My parents moved into our neighborhood when I was four and left again when I was 19 (we moved once, to a house two blocks away, during that time). So I never had the experience of moving in the middle of school. But my brother and sister did. My brother was 1st in his high school class in Connecticut for freshman and sophomore years, but due to the fact that no one in our CT high school EVER got straight As and the machinations of GPA recalculation, he ended up being in the top 10% of his new high school class, but nowhere near the valedictorian or salutatorian. On the other hand, he got a great high school math education, which really helped him in his engineering major in college. He also had a lot more LDS friends in his high school (we'd been the only LDS kids in our high school) and no longer had to drive 30 minutes to seminary at 5:30 am. So there were trade offs, but there are ALWAYS trade offs.

    My poor little sister had to make the big move twice– once at the beginning of 7th grade and once again in the middle of 11th grade. I won't lie and say that it was easy for her, but she's 10 years out of high school now and I don't think it scarred her permanently. 😉

    Good luck with the move, Angela. I know that it will be tough, but it sounds like you're doing all the right things to make the transition as smooth as possible for your kids.

  2. We moved back to Utah very suddenly (after 8 years in Texas), when I was to start 9th grade, my brother 7th, and my sister 5th. And we moved at the end of the summer, after a summer thinking I was going to start high school and be in marching band and otherwise be awesome. My siblings were likewise prepared to move up and not back. But when it was back to Utah time, I was back in junior high where I ended up having to quit band forever, I'd missed auditions for the honors choir, there were some other academic progress differences (I almost skipped 9th grade entirely, but instead just retook 9th grade English), and was facing the last year of JH after everyone had already been together for years. My brother was back on the bottom rung of school, so at least everyone else was just as lost as he was. I honestly don't remember how my sister's transition went, but as I recall it was a bit more smooth than mine.

    But you know what? We were fine, even great! Like your son, I used it as a chance to reinvent myself. I credit this as the year I started caring about fashion, since I didn't have to wear a uniform anymore, and I started learning to how style my unruly hair. I made friends with the very welcoming neighbor girls immediately (after growing up in a neighborhood of boys, this rocked my world in a positive way) and had Friday night plans that very first week of school, which rarely happened in Texas, even at the end of the school year. I was able to get onto the science demo team instead of marching band, repeating 9th grade English wasn't as bad/boring as I feared, earned a nickname that I'm still sometimes called after 12 years, and I even had a not-my-boyfriend.

    Thanks to Facebook, I still know what's up with some of my Texas friends, but only one of them has really been part of my life this long. I'd still be friends with the people I met that first year in Utah with or without it, despite having moved across the country by myself 4 years ago.

    In short, "All these things shall give us experience, and shall be for our good" is exactly how I would describe my teenage move to Utah.

    Good luck!

  3. I moved right before my junior year of highschool. My brother was a senior. It was scary, but it was also great. I was pretty shy back in my school days and up to then had coasted along with hanging out with the friends of my one really good church friend, who had moved the year before. Moving forced me to make my own friends, which really didn't end up being too hard.

    There were some hard things (the school academics and the band weren't nearly as good as the school I had left), but overall very positive. My brother did fine as well, although he didn't qualify to be valedictorian even though he was first in the class because we hadn't lived there long enough.

    My younger two brothers(one in 4th and one in 7th) made the transition easily as well.

  4. We moved at the end of every school year from the 4th grade through my senior year. The curse of being in a military family, I guess. I loved it. Sure, there were a few awkward days, but you learn to get into the swing of things.

    You learn to smile at people and introduce yourself; to say "I'm sorry, I've forgotten your name" over and over because you're horrible with names. Still, it's often fun to be the new girl because you're something of a novelty. You can go out for a sport and no one remembers your awkward junior-high attempts at running. You can audition for the school play and the director gives you the benefit of the doubt because you're an unknown.

    You also have a chance to find the right friends. You aren't with the same people year after year just because you've been friends with them since kindergarten. After the first two weeks of lots of people feeling you out, you find the group of friends you're meant to be with.

    Personally, I loved moving. I get itchy feet every spring. But I married a "put down roots" kind of guy. Oh well. I'd have a little discussion with your kids, although it sounds like your son already gets it, that this is their chance to be whoever they want to be. Do they want to be the sporty guy? Do they want to be thought of as a studious person? Do they want to be outgoing? Anything is possible when you present yourself to a new group of people.

    And the same goes for you, Angela!

    The only advice I'd offer you is to make sure your new schools have your kids' transcripts, and that you've signed them up for classes NOW. If possible, ask your new bishop for the names of some of the women in your new ward who have kids in the same grades as yours. Email or talk to them about the best teachers and classrooms. It's important to make sure they're signed up for the right classes. It royally sucks to show up for school and realize that you're in the remedial English classes, while all the AP and Honors classes are full. And this for a 4.0 student.

    School is going to be one of the most important things in their lives, so make sure you're giving them the best opportunities you can. Good luck, it's gonna be great!!

  5. My family moved a lot when I was a kid; from CA to Idaho when I was 9, back to CA when I was 11, and then from CA to MD when I was 17 and almost a senior in high school. First of all, I think moving during the summer is best option if possible. My two elementary school moves were difficult because they were during the school year, one only two months before the end of school, and they were hard.

    I think so much depends on the family environment and your kids personalities. Moving my senior year was hard and we moved to a completely different environment and culture. But, I tend to be fairly adaptable and optimistic so I had a good senior year and made some friends (not any close ones or people I still keep in touch with, though). My sister, who is a year younger than me, had a much harder time and spent her last two years of high school being angry and resentful before escaping to high school. Interestingly, she did make one close friend that she still spends lots of time with.

    If you feel strong promptings to do this, then go for it. Trust in the Lord. My husband and I have moved a lot during the last few years. Our kids are little, but it has worked out that my daughter did preschool, kindergarten, and first grade in three different states. We just bought a house and hope to be here for a long time. Last year we ended up living in three different houses and three different wards and it was pretty hard on my three-year-old. But after six months in our new 'permanent' home he is starting to bounce back. Kids can be generally pretty resiliant. Just acknowledge their sad feelings (if they have them and help them find ways to keep in touch with friends and/or say goodbye.

  6. Oops, I meant to say that my sister 'escaped to college'. Whatever.

    I also agree with Jessie that you should be on top of the school thing, especially with high school and junior high. We always lived in military wards and my mom was either YW president or RS president–I remember her spending many hours on the phone with incoming families helping them figure out school stuff in order to get ready for the new year.

  7. Your daughter would have found a way to blame you in Utah, too. 😉

    Moving is tough on kids whatever the age. We've moved ours at all ages around the world more than once.

    Things that helped:

    1. Making it an adventure that we're conquering together as a family — has helped the kids rely on one another a bit

    2. Getting as involved as possible from day #1 — the longer we (as parents) or our kids hung back and did nothing was just that much more inertia to overcome. When we moved to Venezuela, two of our sons were polar opposites. One focused on what he couldn't do (swim, speak Spanish, etc). The other didn't care that he didn't speak Spanish; he tried anyway. When he saw other kids swimming, he jumped right in, even though he'd never had a lesson. (What I don't know how to do is to get the "can-do" into a kid who doesn't have it.)

    3. Get their buy-in — sounds like you have that so far. Yes there will be tough days, but if they can remember that they also had the feeling that this was the right thing to do, it will go a long way

    4. Trust time. It does take time to adjust — a year or more for our kids in some moves. But in time, things do get better. Slowly sometimes. Like glacial speed. But they do get better.

    Have fun!

  8. She might blame you anyway. I think it helps to deal with the blame if you know you're doing what the Lord wants you to do.

    I pray for my boys every day with our many moves, both past and future. I know this doesn't have anything to do with your situation, but homeschooling has gotten us through our moves. I couldn't face putting my children in a new school every year.

  9. "Change is vital to our growth" is a quote I heard at Sacrament meeting in our ward last month. I did not move when I was a teenager, but my very best friend did. No, that's not as hard, but it was very difficult for me. I remember praying all that summer and dreading school in the fall. But all these years later I look back on that year as one of tremendous growth. I learned how to reach out to others because I was forced to.

    Perhaps your family will become even closer over the next year. I think you are 5,000 steps above the game because you realize the challenges ahead. Keep us posted!

  10. I did not move. However, I did attend junior high at a school out of boundaries and then go to the high school I was in boundaries for. It's almost the same thing, except that I didn't make friends with people who were in my ward. In fact i only had one friend in my ward out of the 15 my age. Fun times.

    Anyway, what I found is that the first year is trial and error, figuring out who you'd like to hang around. There are kids you end up in a lot of classes together and you wind up friends because you have or develop things in common.

    And then going to high school and make another group of friends was fun. I was the new girl and therefore the one who intrigued all the guys in the group. Well, at least some of them. It also took a trial-and-error year with friends, but I came out the better for it, with friends I care deeply for to this day.

  11. I moved several times in my life, beginning new schools in 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 11th grades. Due to the configuration of the various school districts I only attended the same school building twice in my life.

    Moving isn't easy. There's always that horrid question of, "Who am I going to eat lunch with? Will they like me? Will I have to sit there for the rest of the year? Will they make fun of my newness to the school?" After a week or two, things settle down. You start to know people, you start to know the local pecking order, and you start to define your place in the school (other than being "the new kid.")

    The "where to sit" problem can be soothed if there's a local, similar-aged ward member willing to say, "Hey! Meet me outside the cafeteria, and we can sit together." That makes a world of difference even if you start eatting at another table a few weeks later.

    As a child who was frequently the new kid I always felt bad for the kids who never got to start with a clean slate and who never got to experience a new community.

    Honestly, I'm really glad I moved frequently as a kid. I learned a lot about how attitude, communication, and expectations. I learned how to make a ward a family. I learned how to keep in touch with friends and family despite long distances. I learned how to be very independent, and I learned to not feel like I'm defined by my surroundings.

    The trick is that I grew very accustomed to moving every few years. I get antsy when I can't drastically change my scenery, and the thought of being in the same house for more than 10 years almost horrifies me.

    Tip: One thing that helps navigate Middle School and High School is if your kids can get their schedules early and visit the school a week or two before the students return. That way they can do a trial run at, "Ok, here is my home room. I start here. Then this is how I get to my first class." A first day is a little less overwhelming if the hallways are somewhat familiar.

  12. My family moved from Provo to the Bay Area when I was about to enter 10th grade. I went from a world where Mormons were always a majority to one where we were a minority (but a decently sized one). I have to say that for me personally at that stage in my life it was fantastic.

    How much leeway do you have on where in Minnesota you live? There are some wards in the area with a thriving youth program. Others — not so much. But you probably are aware of much of this from when you lived here before.

  13. Moving right as my junior year of high school was starting was the best thing that ever happened to me. I went from a school of over 3,000 to one of 1,200, and had opportunities I never would have had because of it.

  14. Last fall, we moved from the only home that all of our kids have ever known. At the time, our oldest was starting his Senior year in HS and the others were starting 8th, 5th, and 3rd. The Senior stayed, because we just couldn't do that to him and it has turned out great for him. Fortunately, he had family to stay with. The biggest blessing has been with our 8th grader. He never felt like he quite fit in at our old place. Upon moving (to a very small community, about 500 population) and attending a school with about 80 in his grade, he has developed great friendships, but most importantly he has developed some great talents and is becoming an individual that is discovering who he is. It has been awesome for him. The younger two are just fine and have found their own niche as well. I was also scared for the kids, because I moved a lot as a child. But what I have learned is that kids are resilient and when the Lord says it's time to do something else, he will help, even though the path is not easy.

  15. My cousins have moved oh, probably a dozen times in their lifetimes. I know that it wasn't the easiest for them but they always did great and I think that they learned incredibly valuable life skills! They learned to rely on each other more- their family is so tight-knit. They learned how to make friends easily. They learned to study hard- they are all very accomplished and bright. They focused on their sports/music. Sometimes when you are faced with having few friends, you turn inward (to family, hobbies, studying) which isn't such a bad thing! They are all happy and adventurous adults now! It will all turn out just fine!

  16. My family moved about every 3 years. I have lived all over the US (mostly east coast) and on four continents. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    In addition to having friends all over, I gained very valuable skills of making friends, learning new normals, and figuring out new systems. It made leaving my home for college about a million times easier for me than it was for most of the other people around me. It makes living not within driving distance of my parents much much easier than it seems to be for the 90% of my adult ward members who, quite frankly, act a teeny bit immaturely about "going home." It made my mission experience less stressful for knowing how to handle goodbyes and hellos, etc.

    Also, every move is a fresh start. Perhaps some of your kids could really use a break from certain friends or habits or old jokes/teasing–that is a major up for moving. It is a great chance to try something new.

    I gotta say, though, that 7th grade sucks almost no matter what. Good luck to your daughter.

  17. Another quick thought, if you're daughter hasn't had a locker before, make certain she learns how to use a combination lock. I moved into a school where kids had been using lockers for 2 years and it was my first locker experience. It was so frustrating to never be able to remember how to properly turn the dial!

  18. My parents moved my five younger brothers and me several times when I was growing up. The first time (and hardest) was in 5th grade, coming from S.CA. to a small Utah town. I had little coping skills and had a hard time for about half a year before settling down. The next time we moved was just before my junior year of high school. This time it was to a HUGE high school in Central CA. We were only there for six months before moving to Northern CA. I learned that it took about three months to feel comfortable and then it was fine. I learned SO much from moving and met friends I still keep in touch with–including my husband! 🙂 Being involved in different activities and having the social support of the church helped a lot. With hindsight, if I had the choice about whether to stay or move again, even though it was hard for a while, I would choose to move.

  19. Someone in Minnesota obviously needs you. And in a lot of ways you need Minnesota. Utah may be comfortable, but it isn't everything. There's something to be said about being an outsider, and how much closer that perspective brings us to Christ. He didn't live in the familiar and comfortable all the time, and neither should we. To live so would deny ourselves the ability to see miracles–those acts of God's grace which are recognizable because they aren't normal for us.

    You'll see those miracles, dear sister, and I pray your family will journey in safety.

  20. I went to four different high schools.

    It was crazy, but in a lot of ways, fundamental to who I am today. I'm a naturally shy person, and I learned how to talk to people. I hate figuring out new places and new experiences. I figured it out and realized it wasn't as bad as my mind was making it out to be. It was so important to my testimony, because I started going to church for the right reasons and not the social aspects.

    In almost every move, it was easy to find good friends. Yeah, there's a few awkward moments, but they are over quickly. I almost always found a group right off that I naturally fit into. It also helped a lot that I was into drama, since I usually ended up hanging out with those kids and it was an easy way to find a group.

  21. When we moved to Texas our oldest was in the middle of 6th grade. She had been in Elementary in a small charter school in Utah and then we moved to a massive public middle school. It was a hard adjustment getting used to lockers and switching classes and a huge lunchroom and all that stuff. it was difficult, I won't lie. She was very overwhelmed by the behavior of the kids ( "mom, everyone takes the Lord's name in vain!") and she asked to be homeschooled for 7th grade (which she was.) When she started 8th grade she had had a year to come to terms with the idea of what school is like here in Texas. She opted to go back to middle school and has had a really great year. We were talking about Utah at dinner a few days ago and my daughter said there is no way she would ever go back there. I was so shocked because I felt like moving away was incredibly difficult for her.

    Just be prepared that change can be really hard on kids–especially older ones. That doesn't mean that it's a mistake or that they'll never be happy again. Believe it or not they will eventually be happy.

    You are NOT scarring them for life or dooming them to a miserable existence.

    P.S. I went to three different high schools by choice. I loved the change.

  22. My dad was in the Air Force, so I have plenty of moving stories! The hardest move was right between 7th and 8th grade, from overseas to a smaller Southern town. I'll attribute that more to culture shock than anything – it took about 6 months, but then I was settled and happy once I made good friends. Middle school is just hard no matter where you are, I think. But my brothers (twins) moved right before their senior year of high school and handled it amazingly well.

    I think my parents' attitude and efforts made such an impact on our moving experiences. They never dwelt on the past or complained about old or new places. They looked at each new place as an adventure to explore together, and did everything they could to help us integrate and feel settled as soon as possible. They always chose our house based on the school district, which told us that they valued our educations and wanted us to succeed no matter where we lived. They also let us choose how to decorate our rooms (within a certain budget) in each new house. That meant some crazy color choices in some rooms, but that gave us some sense of control over our new circumstances and something exciting to look forward to.

    Finally, I think moving so often brought our family a lot closer. School friends and ward members came and went, but family was constant. My dad has since retired so my younger siblings aren't getting to have that broader perspective that comes from living in different environments and having to rely on your family so much – and my parents notice and have commented on the difference. (My husband is moving into a profession where moves are very infrequent and I can't even comprehend living in one place for over five years!) Good luck to you and your family!

  23. The last time I moved my kids was before 1st grade for the oldest, so I can't tell you as a parent.
    As a child, I moved many times including 1st, mid 6th, 10th, mid 11th.
    Moving is good for kids.
    1. They get to see how other places do things (what's cool in one place is not cool elsewhere, what is typical one place is unique somewhere its) Definitely broadens their thinking and helps them see things from different perspectives.
    2. It brings your family closer together (friends come and go, family is forever)
    3. Helps them in future possibilities (missions, job opportunities) by giving them this experience
    4. Helps them take a step back and objectively see who they are (yes, reinventing themselves but hopefully reinventing to something closer to the real them)
    5. They get to see how the church is somewhere else. Helps them see what is the gospel and what is just culture
    My advice:
    Be a good example of having a positive attitude about things. View the changes as opportunities for your children to experience something new which is good for them…..not as traumatic experiences and disappointing limitations.
    I went from being yearbook editor at one school to not being allowed on the yearbook staff mid-year at the next school. Not the end of the world. We had almost finished up anyway. My parents were sympathetic but didn't lose sleep over it. There were plenty of new, exciting opportunities to get involved in different things.
    Read up on social skills to help your children. Simple things like telling them to smile and make eye contact with people. Make them practice it now with people they don't know at the store, or at school or church. Next step is smiling and saying hi. Social skills can be learned. Unfortunately, no one teaches them.
    My daughter changed schools in 5th grade. 6th grade she was in a class with none of the friends from the year before so she had to start over. She was floundering for a few weeks. I pushed the smile and say hi. If people didn't react I told her not to worry about it. If they we slow or unenthusiastic when reacting I told her not to worry about it. When people don't know you yet they don't know how to react. But after a while they will think of you as friendly and eventually some people will warm up to you. And it happened. She has friends.
    Just don't assume kids will "make friends" without any kind of direction (unless they are naturally talented). Other friendship skills include asking relevant questions. Finding ways to join the group without disrupting the action.
    Be consistant in showing up. Right now our ward is combining YW activities during the week with the other ward. My husband wanted my daughter to skip YW last night for a family b-day dinner, but I said she needs to go so these other kids will get to know her from the beginning. If She misses out on these initial bonding times she'll be written off and she'll have to make larger efforts to break in later.

  24. I moved heaps as a child, and once as a teenager. I didn't like moving, but I (and my siblings) survived. While none of us reinvented ourselves when we moved (I'm a nerd/geek and had/have no intention to change) it made me work out skills to adjust such as quickly befriending the librarian and sitting against the wall in class, which in turn introduced me to people I became excellent friends with.

    I think the best piece of advice I received on moving to a (much bigger and stranger) high school was that there's no rush to settle in and make friends – and most of all, the person or people or group that teachers may assign to 'show you around' is just a short term thing. If you don't like them, leave, and if you do like them, great! (I was assigned to group of "popular" girls whose focus was bikinis, Cosmo magazine, and who was dating who. Once I realised none of them read books, I knew I had to escape…)

    My advice for you Angela? Don't ask more than once a day how your kiddos are feeling/thinking/settling in. Hard to do, I know, but it takes some pressure off everyone!

    All the best!

  25. My parents separated and I moved from Utah to California in the middle of my Junior year. Hardest and best thing that ever happened to me.

    Good luck to your kids! They'll be okay!

  26. I've been reading these comments from the perspective of my husband possibly doing a sabbatical in a few years (possibly abroad) and our voluntarily yanking our kids out of junior high or high school, causing them to miss opportunities at home. It's great to read so many transition stories with happy endings.

  27. I agree, Zina. It's been so helpful to read that so many feel their experiences moving as teens were beneficial. Hard at times, but beneficial. And the advice here has been very helpful to me too, and reminded me how important it is that I stay positive and encouraging. Thanks so much for all your insights.

  28. Thank you for this. It is a subject close to my heart and spirit.
    I am coming to understand the rightness of this comment, "I also know that a spiritual confirmation over the rightness of a decision doesn’t exclude the possibility that the path will be hard. In fact, sometimes decisions are right because they’re hard. God’s funny that way."
    My DH job moves us (overseas) every 3 years or so. But suddenly in just a week's time I will be leaving with our 3 kids to go help my mom for a year, and then another year while DH goes to Pakistan. Two years. As if moving every 3 years wasn't hard enough, now two years apart? God is funny that way. There is no doubt the spiritual confirmation of this decision, but as you said, it doesn't make it easy.
    Thank you for sharing.

  29. We aren't moving house but my daughter is changing schools at her request. In her present school she feels under a lot of pressure and has heaps of homework. So, after 2 years we are more than happy to move her. Even though it was her choice there is still the issue of making new friends and finding how to fit in, also learning your way around a huge area. In her present school she is popular, in all the top academic groups, captain of all the sports teams. It take ssome courage to go from that to knowing noone and starting afresh. Still, we think it is for the best and know that the ride may be rough but will be worth it. Actually, I think I will worry more on her first day than she will.

  30. My family moved from Denver to Dallas right before my sophomore year started – and right before I turned 16. I went from having friends and having dates lined up to being the new one-and the one that never fit in. Those last 3 years of high school were some of the most difficult and depressing of my life. But I also needed the change to redefine myself. I think I would have been too tempted to make seriously wrong choices if I had stayed where I was. Looking back, I am grateful that we moved, but at the time I hated it. If it's for the best, then at least later on your kids will recognize that.

  31. We've lived in our current home for 20 years now, but when we moved here, my children were at difficult ages for relocating. I had a third grader, a fifth grader, a seventh grader, and a sophomore in high school.

    I won't lie. it was hard, particularly for my tenth grade son. It even knocked him off track for a year or so, and he struggled. I had to quit my masters program (three classes away from completing it) to put extra time and energy into helping my children adjust.

    But adjust they did; and we did, and everyone came out fine in the end. Shaking a solid foundation will not crumble it; I truly believe that. And we all grew from the experience.

    One more thing. Equally hard was pulling up our roots. I like to sink mine deep, and moving is not something I enjoy. At least, not until I have a chance to re-sink them in the new place. You might relate to this poem I wrote following our last move:


    I do think it's important to grieve as we move forward.


    PS. And, by the way, I love your upside-down house pic!

  32. they'll be fine! my family moved for my dad's job all the time growing up. i went to three high schools on three continents. and i loved/hated every minute of it. yes, i blamed my parents for "making" me leave my friends, but things were always wonderful in the next place because people are wonderful everywhere. then i got to college and while everyone else was woe-is-me-ing with homesickness, i was sitting there realizing that moving had taught me to be really good at meeting new people and making new friends and adjusting to new situations….skills that have served me well. it will be hard, but moving brings families closer together….makes them need each other while they make friends. and your kids will thank you someday.

  33. one more thing….(and sorry if i'm repeating other comments…i haven't read them all). be open with your kids about the inspiration you've received. it always instilled a lot of trust in my parents to know that they weren't moving us around to be mean. i knew they were following the spirit because they told us that. it made a big difference.

  34. I too was one of those kids who lived in the same neighborhood forever. My Dad threatened to move our family when I was a Junior in high school and I threatened to leave home, being the sullen, slightly rebellious teen that I was. We didn't end up moving so I didn't leave home until college. That was my first experience at being the "new kid". And you know what? I loved it. I really could "reinvent myself" and it was truly refreshing.

    We are so going to miss your family, but I understand why you are moving. It's good that you are following the promptings you have received and I know your family will be blessed because of it. That doesn't mean it might not be hard. Sometimes the best things in life are really hard.

    And if I've learned anything…you should never, ever, say never!

  35. As a kid we moved 14 times by the time I was 12 and as a married adult we moved 25 times in 21 years. ROOT SMOOTS. They can be deep and HURT your growth, or they can be portable and enrich your family. ALL of my adult children have told my husband and I that they loved moving. They have friends all over the world and with email they can keep in contact. I now live in a community that we have loved fiercely for 5 years. We moved here without kids so our neighbors loan us theirs. I believe we come to this world to prepare for the next so MOVING makes us think about where we are going and how we want to get there. I know that stability can be good for a family but so can MOVING!!!

  36. I moved from Oregon to Utah in mid-ninth grade. It was an amazing culture shock. In Oregon, the morals felt sure, steady, and unchanging. In (Davis County) Utah, where almost everyone was LDS, suddenly my world was awash with greys.

    I won't lie, it was a tumultuous time in my life anyway, but addded to that, I didn't mesh with the so-called preppy kids, even though their morals tended to be more in-line with my own conservative nature. Because my socio-economic status was more average, and I have always been a bit introverted, somehow I ended up with more run-of-the mill kids. They were good to me — wonderful friends — but most have since ended up inactive.

    I felt I was in the smallest minority being "VL" (virgin lips) and a senior. Whether this was reality or just typical teenage angst I can't say (although the latter is quite likely) but I'm sure it was largely influenced by my circle of friends. In the end I found a boyfriend to fix my glaring deficiency of experience.

    I'm sure your children will do fine, but I'm sure that with prayer, you can cultivate the proper discussions now to prepare them for what they will find in "Zion."


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