Be aware of the naysayers.
- “Your kids need stability. Uprooting them every week is harmful.”
- “Kids should be in school so they can interact with their peers.”
- “2 year olds won’t remember the places they visited anyway so why bother?”
- “Oh, it’s OK for young kids but once they become teens they’ll need to settle down.”
- “They might know the history of Mt. Rushmore but will they know how to interact with someone different than themselves in the real world?”
- “You’ll deprive your kids of friends and lasting relationships.”
- “You’ll be homeless.”
Recently one of our fellow ditchers got some press here in West Michigan and the comments included all of the above.
If you’ve told anyone about your plans to ditch you’ve probably run into some naysayers. Naysayers love bringing up concerns about the “s-words”:
What do you do about naysayers?
Forewarned is forearmed, right? Just knowing that you’ll probaby encounter a naysayer is a great first step. Don’t let them blindside you. Not everyone will “get” what you are thinking about doing.
We planned on a one year trip. We put that constraint in place to help us figure out what truck and RV to buy, but it also helped ease the concerns of friends and family. They could imagine us “making up” for any losses in schooling, etc once back from our 1-year trip.
Some naysayers will respond to education and reason. Having some links, books, blogs, Instagram accounts and vlogs from other families doing something similar will help them understand.
Other naysayers are scared. They just watched the news. They just read about that shooting.
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Suburbia-ditchers have different values than most people - tell the world what they are:
Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.
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Thanks for your concern, but we’ve evaluated the risks and feel confident it’s the right move for our family.
We’ve seen fear-based naysayers come around over time as they see you live and thrive in your new life.
Ultimately? It’s your life. Once you’ve made the decision to ditch, be confident in it.
Defend it to a point, but then let people know that you’ve made the decision and it’s no longer up for debate.
They can choose to support you or choose not to. But if they choose to not support your decision, they don’t get to keep being a negative voice in your world.
Pick Your Battles
Friends and family are one thing. Those are relationships you want to preserve so taking time to work with them about your life choice is worth it.
But perfect strangers?
Once in a while we’ll get a comment about how we’ve chosen to live - from someone we’ve never met or interacted with before. We got one on this post, in fact.
The internet has a word for these people.
Trolls come in many flavors. Ignorant. Self-righteous. Smug. Unhappy. Bored. Lonely. Forgotten.
Our troll demanded that we defend our choices against mainstream assumptions about college education for our kids. And other things.
Trolls aren’t looking for an intelligent conversation. Trolls don’t want to be convinced. They want cause angst and emotion. They want to feel self-satisfied with “telling people like it is”.
You have a choice. You can engage with trolls. Or not.
I deleted the comment without response.
It came in at a time when we are switching RVs, trying to get Miranda off to a summer WWOOFing gig, and I’m behind on client work. I didn’t feel like answering her loaded questions (you’d think someone extolling the benefits of a secondary eduction would favor the Socratic method, but I digress).
Our friends over at RVWanderlust would say “let the troll comment ride, promote it, and let your community handle it.”
There’s some logic behind that advice. Not that by “ganging up” on a troll you will get them to change their mind, but the process of responding and adding individual perspectives would make the community itself stronger.
We might try that next time.
We’ve got your back. One great use of our Ditching Suburbia Facebook group is getting support and encouragement from like-minded folks who’ve been there.
Have you had sayers of nay?
Leave us a comment below.
What were their concerns? Were you able to respond with reason, or did you have to just put your foot down?