Yesterday Lady Jennie had a very thought-provoking post up at World Moms Blog, relating to how your own childhood compares to that of your children and what opportunities you wish you had and/or want them to have. It triggered some very good comments as well.
I mentioned briefly in the comment section there that my own childhood was very peripatetic. We moved every two or three years, and from when I was two until I left for college, I lived in the US for only a few months total. We spent almost all of my childhood in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, which was truly fantastic from an opportunity standpoint...we got to see so much of the world and had some fabulous experiences. Been to the burial chamber in the Great Pyramid and seen the riches in King Tut's tomb. Been to Bali before going there risked bomb attacks. Been to the Forbidden City in Beijing and to see the terracotta warriors in Xi'an. Been on safari in Kenya. Been to the bubbling mud pools of Rotorua, NZ and Kakadu National Park in Australia. Kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland and spent one Christmas in Salzburg, Austria. Rode a camel in Rajasthan, India. I say all this not to brag...travel was just a fact of life for us. I completely took it for granted until I returned to the US, actually; since all the kids I went to school with in every country were serial expats like me, I genuinely hadn't considered that my life experiences were unusual for an American kid until I started talking to college classmates.
By comparison to the international and cross-cultural upbringing I had, my three children are being raised in a small town that is very homogeneous, which is the only thing I don't like about it. What they do have that I completely lacked, though, is the sense that they belong in a community. When I was a kid, I distinctly remember telling my dad (probably right after he came home and announced that we were making yet another move) that when I grew up I was going to put down roots to the center of the earth and never move again!!
So now, having essentially done that and feeling guilty because my kids don't have the opportunities I had (we need to travel more!) I try to give them every opportunity to get involved in activities. Sports. Music. Camps. Academic stuff. To the point where our after-school schedule is completely insane and we are all relieved to have a break when something gets cancelled! That's no way to live either.
So, as always, looking for the balance. And getting right back up on the tightrope to try again when I inevitably fall off!