I’m a formally trained scientist. Don’t I need a hypothesis, specific aims, objectives, experimental design to construct this blog?! Oh wait, this is not a research proposal! I just need to focus on my new life: semi-stay-at-home-parent who homeschools her two beautiful, brilliant sons. Ok, here I go…
I spent years carving out a career in biomedical research until one fateful day that changed my life forever. On October 16, 2008, I became a widow.
My beloved husband passed away from colon cancer. I had just received my doctorate and was left to raise our two very young and brilliant sons on my own. While the laboratory was a sanctuary at times, the grueling hours were taking a toll on my home life with my sons.
The school system wasn’t helping any as I struggled to find the right academic fit for my often-bored oldest son. My husband used to say that the only thing he could truly give his sons was a good education. My own thoughts of wanting to expose my sons to the world began to whirl around in my brain.
I decided that something had to change. In 2015, I had an epiphany: I’m going to create a “roadtrip learning” experience for my sons!
My goal is to take my sons to all 50 US states and 10 countries before my youngest graduates from high school. Research has shown that traveling helps parents get to know their kids better and helps children secure relationships. My boys were already growing up without their father; I didn’t want them to grow up without me as well!
I want to literally give my sons the world. I want the three of us to learn about our world by our senses, feeling, seeing, smelling, and tasting what the world offers. Travel will help them learn first-hand about similarities and differences between cultures, which will further develop their perspectives about themselves and others. Exploring outside of their immediate environment will help to teach others about who they are as African American boys, and, in turn, give them a chance to dispel stereotypes they may have about other cultures.
With globalization occurring within pretty much every of our society, it is of upmost importance that my sons are equipped with tools that they’ll need to succeed. Traveling will broaden their perspective on the global economy. Missing out on the opportunity to culturally interact with the world could hinder their ability to find and/or create jobs and other benefits of social capital. I’m hoping that cross-cultural travel will teach them creative ways to become entrepreneurs, expanding not only their knowledge base but also their income potential.
Simply, I want us all to be happy, and ultimately healthy. Having healthy relationships is just as important to our physical health as exercise. My inner nerd was stoked when I read that traveling triggers our brain’s internal “feel-good” chemicals (i.e. opioids, oxytocin, dopamine) to help reduce stress. These chemicals also stimulate brain development in children, specifically systems designed to support cognitive function and well-focused behaviors that carry through to adulthood. In short, traveling makes kids smart! What better reason to create this road trip learning experience for my sons!
I chose to customize my life in order to fulfill this goal. A combination of jobs/positions (i.e. research, airline industry, communications) have allowed me to create this type of learning environment for my sons. These roles support the one constant position – being a mother.
And as a mother, my ultimate goal is to equip my sons with the tools they need to become successful global leaders.