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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Home for the Holidays?

Remember the phrase “Home for the Holidays”? The question, today, for many families is the definition of “home.” Let me explain based on the geography of my own family.

Today, many young people complete college and move away from Long Island. It is just too expensive for them to be here. And even if they find jobs in New York City, those jobs often transfer them around the country or even around the globe. Those children who do not go to college soon find that it is less expensive to live elsewhere than finding a home on Long Island.

There is also one other factor – marriage. Our children can end up relocating because a spouse comes from another part of the country. That often means another reason to leave Long Island.

In the case of our family, children are spread from Massachusetts to Florida. That presents a challenge as how do we get together as a family – particularly during the Christmas holiday period?

Before this timeframe, gatherings are held in Florida and Massachusetts. While we try to hold a Christmas day dinner for all to attend, Thanksgiving means that we float around to be with our children in different years.

As for the Christmas holiday, the real challenge is getting everyone together. That is “mission impossible.” We just cannot get it done even if we sponsor the airfare. When you think about it, that is not surprising. As families grow in different parts of the country, the roots take hold. Local friends, schools, houses of worship, and jobs can keep our children anchored all over the country.

Today, there are several different ways to stay connected. First, digital cameras are really a great way to stay connected over the holiday. After taking fun pictures or videos, it is possible to send them off around the world in a matter of minutes.

In addition, there are real-time possibilities with computers and the video capability built into each one. You can see that capability regularly on TV news. Reporters in the field use laptop computers to transit news from all parts of the world.

None of the geographic challenges will change down the road. If anything, the global economy will expand, and job opportunities will also continue to develop all over the country. For those readers who do not have scattered families, you are indeed fortunate. Grandchildren are close at hand and your relationship with them has to be a positive in your lives.

No matter who comes home for the holidays, enjoy the time, because you never know whether job opportunities could mean a transfer of that family member over the next year to another part of the country or even overseas. We truly live in a global economy.


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