July 31, 2011
I have come a long way since my first child went to the Transformation for Peace program. This program involves my sending my young 12 to 15 year old overseas for a nine to twelve day summer camp. To complete the entire program, participants attend the summer camp each summer for three years. Because I believe this program has all the requirements to help my young teens navigate their way through their spiritual questioning, I make the necessary arrangements each year.
Each of my children has attended this program. My oldest went to Switzerland, when the program was in its infancy. After my oldest completed his three years, the program changed its name from “Education for Peace” to “Transformation for Peace.” It was then adopted by the Townshend International School and moved to the Czech Republic.
My two daughters went to the Czech Republic to attend the program. Since they were close in age, they each got to attend the program on their own for one year. And they got to accommodate each other to the program for two of the three years. This helped to alleviate my fears of their traveling such a long distance on their own at such a young age. At least they had each other.
During these years, the program had grown considerably and was being offered in a number of different countries. I waited eagerly for word of the program coming to Canada, but no such luck.
My youngest was able to attend the program in Texas for his first year. Unfortunately, the community in Texas was unable to continue with the program. This was okay with my youngest as he then got to complete his other two years in the Czech Republic.
With my first, I had used the Internet to follow his flight across the ocean. I knew that his plane was late leaving Madrid and worried about the reason why. I knew the minute his plane touched down in Prague. I was on the phone instantly to the individual who was meeting my son at the airport. I felt sorry for that staff member: having to deal with a worried, frantic mother half a world away. He told me not to worry, that my son would be fine, and that they had years of experience with picking up children at the airport.
I was in contact with this same staff member on the day they put my son back on the plane for the return trip home. Again, this staff member had to reassure me that my son was fine, would be fine, and that they had years of experience putting children onto airplanes for their trips back home.
Fast-forward eleven years. My youngest is now on his way home from the Czech Republic. The only reason why I watched the clock was because I was worried I be late picking him up from the airport. I left home to go to the airport in time to meet his flight when I realized that I hadn’t even checked to ensure his flight was on time. And, I left the flight number at home.
I had to use the public computers at the airport to look up his electronic ticket. This gave me access to his flight number and I was then able to check the monitors to see if his flight was on time. It was.
The only time I began to worry was when it seemed to take a long time for his plane to unload. I then began to think he would have to go through customs. I then began to imagine all sorts of scenarios. He is a young teen, interested in old weaponry. If he had purchased himself a unique weapon of sorts as a souvenir, they may be questioning him in customs.
But my worries were, once again, in vain. I soon saw him walking towards me, looking just as tired as he had the previous two years. And, just as tired as his siblings had when they returned from their exhausting overseas flights.
But since I hadn’t stayed up all night tracking his flight on the Internet, I was feeling quite energetic. And I’m sure the staff members picking him up from the airport and dropping him off at the airport were glad they didn’t have to reassure a frantic mother that her child was just fine and in good hands.
It does help to have more than one child!
For information about the Transformation for Peace program, go to: www.transformationforpeace.com.
And check out the pictures of my two daughters having fun during one of their years at TFP at the following links: