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Review: Families On the Move: Growing Up Overseas—And Loving It!

Families On The Move: Growing Up Overseas – And Loving It!, Marion Knell, Kregel Publications, 2001.

Families On The Move is essential reading for missionary families preparing to settle into a new culture on location. CMS Development and Training Secretary David Williams summarises why this book is an effective introduction to the cross-cultural training missionaries receive at St Andrew’s Hall.

Families On The Move offers families practical advice on how to manage transition. The focus is on missionaries preparing to move to a different culture. But an Australian family moving interstate within the same broader cultural context would also benefit from Marion Knell’s useful advice.

All transitions involve a process of loss and change. Knell provides down-to-earth guidance on how to cope with the grief that accompanies all kinds of change and loss. She offers a simple summary of the RAFT strategy for managing relationships when you’re about to relocate—reconciling by making peace in relationships so that you part on good terms, affirming relationships through gratitude and love, farewells, and thinking about the challenges and opportunities that await you in your destination.

Knell outlines helpful ways to start living in a new culture well, including suggestions about how to create family routines that provide a safe anchor point through the choppy seas of relocation. She notes that a particular aspect of culture shock and stress arises from living in contexts marked by poverty. She also offers helpful advice on how to adapt to living in a non-Western culture.

Families On The Move provides an introductory overview of transitions and culture shock and we suggest that families read this book before embarking on the journey to St Andrew’s Hall. We cover all these areas in detail during the course. While new and second-hand copies of this title are available online, Families On The Move is not currently in print—make sure you find a copy of this rare gem while you can!