Making a Home vs Finding a Home

As a kid, I never moved. My parents raised three kids in the house they bought before any of us were born, and didn’t sell it and move until we were all grown and living out of state for a number of years.

Since starting my own family, I’ve moved a lot. Somewhat for work, but mostly to find the best living situation for the family.

I struggle to know whether one approach is better.

Moving when you don’t feel you’ve got the best surroundings means you have a hard time putting down roots. Your local connections aren’t as deep. Your traditions are partially lost and new ones need to be created with each new city.

Sometimes the things you don’t like about where you live are up to you to change or adapt to. If the only option is to leave them, there are parts of the human experience you will miss. Digging in, overcoming, being persistent, seeing the fruits of long effort. It feels good to slowly turn your shack into a castle, like Robinson Crusoe.

Then again, staying in a place because you happened to be born there or placed there by some other circumstance can deaden your soul and close you off to adventure and flourishing.

Many people where I grew up operate with a sort of latent, background depression 24/7. Like fish unaware of water, they don’t even know they live in a gray cloud. Their concept of what’s possible is shrunken, their ambition and imagination atrophied, their sense of beauty put on a shelf only to be awakened on vacations or in movies.

Those who take the leap and move someplace more in line with what they want experience genuine wonder, and can hardly fathom why so few others leave. The exit is right there, but some kind of Stockholm Syndrome holds them.

I want my kids to have stability and roots. I also want them to know what’s possible and see the world as their oyster. The tension in these desires is ever-present.

I don’t think there is a generic answer to this. Each person has a different calling. Each is responsible to do the best they can for their family.

Like any aspect of parenting, it can feel overwhelming, like you are choosing your child’s fate forever. There is a danger in not taking this duty seriously enough, but there’s also a danger in taking it too seriously.

Maybe you grow up in the same town. Maybe you move a lot. A good person can lead a good life having grown up under either set of conditions.