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Good or Bad? We'll see...How Bluey prepared my family for travel


Like a lot of Dads, Bluey is the one animated show that I actually really enjoy watching with my kids. It's funny, smart, heart-warming, even inspiring. A lot of episodes not only have lessons told in fun and entertaining ways, but they also portray a model of a dad who's actively engaged with his kids. Bandit is (almost) always willing to enter into his kids' world of make-believe and play. Granted, it's a little unclear when he works, but the point is that he models a dad who consistently makes time for family and is willing to get a little silly to create some core memories.


In the months that my family was preparing for our big move, it just so happened that Bluey came out with an extra long episode where there family was...also preparing for a move. In the episode, Bluey's wise school teacher reads her a story based an old Chinese proverb.


In the story, a series of events happens to an old farmer, one after the other. After each event, the townspeople categorize the event as "good" or "bad" based on their own perspectives of the immediate, short-term evidence they can see. After each event, it actually turns out to bring the opposite fruit. His horse runs away. Bad! But then it comes back and brings a new herd along with it. Good! But then his son breaks his leg while training one of the new horses. Bad! But the broken leg saves the son from having to enlist in the military. Good, right? We'll see.


Shortly after, I began reading the book The Obstacle is the Way by stoic philosopher Ryan Holiday. Ryan's point is similar. When something "happens to us," we see two things. We see the objective reality of the situation: the horse ran away. Then we also see the subjective meaning that we assign to the event: this is unfortunate, I'm losing my livelihood, all is lost.


What if we pause like the Chinese farmer before assigning meaning to the events that occur in our lives. Is it good or bad? We'll see. Right now, it just is. And we are still active participants in our lives. In fact, often when we choose to assume that events in our lives are happening for us and not to us, we maintain our peace and our power. We make wiser choices. We don't spiral into chaos and heap calamity upon calamity.


This was not the first time I'd heard this Chinese story. In fact, the first time I'd heard it was in a church sermon my dad preached years ago. This was, though, the first time my kids saw it and heard it. And it's not an overstatement to say it had a profoundly positive impact in preparing us for our travels.


When things are unpredictable, it's easy to get frustrated by twists, turns, disappointments, and any number of delays that beset weary travelers. Even more than travel, as our family has said good-bye to friends and family and set off on an open-ended adventure, there are many questions and uncertainties.


In the middle of many uncertainties up to this point, we've reminded ourselves of Bluey and the Chinese farmer. We've maintained composure and paused. Is this situation really bad? Let's wait and see. What if it actually works out better this way? In fact, let's assume the best. Let's assume that things have happened in such a way to bring even better things our way.

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