Learning to See Opportunity when Given a Chane to See the World

Our teenage son was not happy that we would have to spend the next six months in Japan. I go where my company sends me, and my wife is a successful novelist. She can work anywhere in the world. Our son has been uprooted a couple of times and had enough of it. He had good friends back home and did not want to go to Japan. He was withdrawn for the first week until I suggested he attend a Niseko snowboard school. He had been wanting to take a short trip to Colorado to learn snowboarding, and Niseko actually had a really good snowboarding school staffed by instructors that speak several languages including our native English.

After learning all he could about snowboarding, he went on the slopes at every opportunity. We bought him a pass to the slopes for the season. At the end of the six months, he was in no hurry to go back home. He made some friends in Japan, and he was actually picking up a decent amount of the language. Of course, it was a girl who was fond of him that caused all of his present interest in Japanese language and culture. Before we left I sat down with him and had one of those dad kind of conversations. I told him that life can take him many places, and there is opportunity to meet new and interesting people everywhere. I explained how there is no need to cut off relationships when you explore, but some will not survive once proximity is lost. However, the friendships that remain even at a distance are the ones you want to work to keep.

He still keeps up with his friends and instructor from snowboarding school, and he has been back to Japan several times in courting the young lady he met there. We have some cultural issues to work out among us and her traditional family, but even her stubborn grandfather likes our boy.