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Counselor's Hub: Building a RAFT
26 Jun
  • Counselor's Hub: Building a RAFT

Moving anywhere can be daunting, 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 or country. 

In Dr. David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken’s book titled, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, the authors dedicated a chapter on transitioning. A leading expert on transition from beginning to end to include the before, during and after transition, Dr. Pollock’s model is all about building a RAFT which stands for 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 wherever you go.

Affirmation moves us into acknowledging and letting those we have come to care deeply for, those who have become our friends know how much we love them, how much we 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 thing called ‘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? 

Please enjoy the booklet “Moving On” by Ken MSB school counselor to support your child use RAFT to help them Leave Well to Arrive Well wherever you may be going.

You can get in touch with Ken at schoolcounselor@msb.edu.cn.