With this academic year drawing to an end, whether you are leaving MSB, Beijing, China a RAFT can keep you afloat and make sure you Arrive Well and ready to embrace your new school, city, country.
The author David Pollock, suggest four steps that make up the acronym RAFT. They are: reconciliation, affirmation, farewell, think destination.
Reconciliation is the first step in building a RAFT. It is important to leave in peace, that when we leave in peace we can begin in peace. By contrast when we leave with unresolved conflict we carry that with us to the next place we go to. It is important to not have any regrets as they tend to follow where ever you go.
Affirmation moves us into acknowledging and letting those we have come to care deeply for, those who have become our friends to know how much we love and will miss them. Affirmation is about talking to a teacher and saying “Thank you! Thank you for your role in my child’s development”.
Farewells –Celebrate the goodbyes. Those goodbyes are critically important. We grieve as we say goodbye because we are losing places and people that we have come to care deeply for. It’s saying goodbye to permanence and the relationships as we know them. It de-stabilizes us for a time. Relationships will change, they have to change. “The global transnational family has developed an amazing capacity to adapt, to move forward, but sometimes we need to just stop where we are and honor that moment”.
Think Destination. We think destination as we sort and pack-up and begin establishing connections in our new school, city, country. We think destination as we send out emails and WeChat messages asking people advice on schools, housing, language, culture. The first edition of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, by Pollock, taught me the acronym RAFT.
Intuitively I think many of us know this, RAFT, we know that this RAFT is critical to take us over the sometimes calm, sometimes rocky, always unpredictable waters of ‘transition’. But to see it in print, gives many of us a life line to draw from, a method to keep us afloat in the spirit of leaving without regret or “I wish I had” feelings that too often stay unresolved and impact our happiness in our new destination.
How about you? Are you familiar with the acronym RAFT? Are you in the middle of a significant move? How can thinking about RAFT help you transition?
Parents I hope you have enjoyed this article on RAFT. Also please use the attached booklet “Moving On” by Ken Perkins MSB school counselor that you can choose to print out or work directly on the computer and input the responses with your child to support them through this time.
Help them,” Leave Well to Arrive Well”, wherever you may be going, even if it is to another school in Beijing or a bigger move leaving your home and setting up somewhere else.
The “Moving On” booklet was sent to each leaving family and Ken will be conducting a class with the leaving students next week from grade 1-7 to help with any leaving anxiety. For younger children I have attached the “My MSB Wellness check-up”, before you check out, please use it as a guide to have a conversation with your little ones. You can also write directly on this one page worksheet.
I often think you can tell a lot about a school when it cares for you and your family as much when you leave as it does when you arrive.
MSB will miss you. Be safe, forever in our hearts.
Should you have any concerns, please contact School Counselor Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org