Maverick, Captain Sully, and Our Kids

by Melissa

The other day I was sitting in a seminar about backward design lesson planning.  The details of lesson planning aren’t important, but one of the exercises got me thinking about our kids.  The exercise began with a T-chart. On one side we wrote the name Maverick, on the other side, Sully.  We were to list the pros and cons of each one being our child’s teacher. Here are the videos we watched and the pros/cons we came up with.


Pros:  fun loving, energetic, willing to take risks, knowledgeable in his field (an expert).

Cons: selfish, reckless, puts others at risk, does not communicate effectively, is not a team player.


Pros:  follows through, extremely competent, finishes the job, risk taker, knowledgeable in his field (an expert), communicates effectively, team player.

Cons:  needs to lighten up, dull, boring, very monotone.

Our conclusion as a group.

We want a teacher who is a great mixture of both. We want a teacher who is willing to take risks with the students and take them above and beyond without putting them at risk. We want a teacher who is an expert in their field.  One who is energetic and willing to follow through and complete the job.  A teacher who is a team player.

The “hmmmmmm” Moment

As I sat there listening to the group discussion of the pros and cons I begin to ask myself – are Ryan and I a great mixture of both or are we being Maverick?  Is this trip around the world reckless? Selfish? Are we putting our children at risk for their health, education and future college career? Are Ryan and I putting ourselves at risk by quitting our jobs and possibly not being able to provide for our family when we return? Would I be asking myself these questions if it were just Ryan and I?

Every once in awhile my concerns and worries about our trip surface and I have to analyze all over again – why it is we are choosing to make this change in our lives? Are we doing the right thing?

I think that many of my concerns stem from the fact that I have not traveled much in my life so I have no idea what to expect.  I’m am trying to counteract this by reading many different blogs of families out there doing what we are planning to do.

I also feel hesitation due to the fact that many aspects for our world travel are still not nailed down in stone.  The purchase of our tickets, funds, our house, education for the kids, immunizations…the list goes on. Planning a trip of this magnitude is not easy.

After discussing with Ryan my thoughts and concerns, I have come to the following conclusion…..

WE ARE A GREAT MIXTURE….a little Maverick…a little Sully

And yes, we are doing the right thing.  The fact that I am concerned and asking myself these questions is proof that Ryan and I are not just Maverick. I think we are very much a great mixture of Maverick and Sully.

We are risk takers.

We have always been willing to take on new challenges, try new things, take on new adventures.

We are energetic.

So many times I have had people say to me that they love to hang out with us because we “do things.”  This is very true.  There is never a dull weekend at my house.  If we are not here doing something around the house we are out exploring our community.  We are active!

We are willing to see a task through to the end.

This has been evidenced so much in our life.  We do not give up, even when it gets tough.  I think this will help on the trip as it cannot always be easy out there.

We are experts in our fields.

Ryan is amazing with computers, software and photography.  He blows me away with the many things he is able to put together.  His skills will be handy when trying to make money while we travel (more to come on that later).  I too am an expert in my field.  The years of teaching and training that I have attended have prepared me well for taking on my own children when it comes to education. A post coming soon on my educational plans for the kids.

We are taking our kids out of their comfort zones and placing them into many unfamiliar situations in which they will have to adapt too.

Is this putting the kids at risk?  Maybe, but we are taking measures right now to make this trip and each leg of it a “stretch goal” for them and not something that will be overwhelming.  Letting them be apart of the planning, taking into account their thoughts and feelings on our house,  their toys and how they can stay in touch with their friends.

We are team players.

We are listening to our kids and letting them help us plan. We are reaching out to those we know and the people they know who have traveled for advice and answers to our many questions and concerns.

We communicate effectively.

We as a family are very open about our concerns and fears for the trip as well as our desires for what we would like to do and see.  We communicate not only within our family, but within our community…hence the blog post :)

Moving forward.

Overall, I think it takes a little of both characters to take on the world.  You need to be willing to take a risk, see it through and use your head.  Writing out our positive traits sets my mind at ease.  This trip is possible and will be an amazing experience for us all.  I hope you will continue to follow along with us.

Now if only “little” financial hiccups would stop popping up… our house’s foundation is fractured!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Rick November 5, 2012 at 10:05 am

1. You are nuts. 2. You have a cousin who is a structural engineer. Ask him about this fracture in the foundation.


Melissa November 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm

your right, on both accounts! This is what makes my life so interesting :)
I should have you come down and fix my house. All houses in the Dallas area sit on clay :( So after awhile they shift and you have to pay thousands of dollars in repairs. Not fun! Move to Texas and you could make a killing!


The Rick November 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

One of the things that I have specialized in over the last few years is rehabilitation of freeway bridges. I knew what your problem was before you said it ( it hydro expansion or hydro collapse that’s taking place?) Either that or your cleaning efforts suddenly made the loading on the foundation become seriously unbalanced. Knowing you…either. I could go super nerd on this topic, but lets start by sending pictures of…cracked concrete!!!!. I’ll need to know a little about the superstructure of the house too. pics are good enough. What year was it built?

Unfortunately the real estate community does not think like the engineers do. I personally think that if your concrete doesn’t crack…you wasted a lot of money on reinforcing. That’s perception versus reality for you. As for moving to texas….no way.

On another note: I hate to point it out when other people are wrong (okay, total lie…I like it). Your trip, the thing around the world….it’s not a year off. It’ s probably your first year on. good luck.


Big D & Me November 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

From someone on the outside of this journey I think you are definitely a combination of the two. Worried and concerned about the children but enough of a maverick to not let that stop you.

I think a lot of times what stops adults is being afraid. Just think of all the experiences we miss out on because we are worried about being embaressed or scared or somebody might talk about us.

As I was watching my daughter take her first ballet class (in Kate’s shoes and outfit – thank you) I thought how incredibly brave it is for kids to go into a new class / experience and try something new. You are giving your children the greatest gift by letting them see you – try something new – and -being brave. What an amazing life lesson. Invaluable in my opinion.


Melissa Harris November 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

You are so right. I haven’t thought about it this way. We are trying something new and nerves aside, I agree it will be so worth it! BTW your welcome ;) Love seeing the pictures of her first class.


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