#41 The Ties that Bind: People, Places and Purpose – with Megan Norton

Synopsis:

Join me in this conversation with Megan Norton on how fostering a sense of belonging can strengthen family ties. Megan is an intercultural trainer and author of Belonging Beyond Borders. As the daughter of a US Foreign Service employee, she moved many times during her childhood. As far back as Megan can remember, her father was often on short-term assignments during their times abroad. Her mum was even about to give birth as her dad was working away! Megan dubs herself, her brother and her parents the Norton Core Four, a testimony to their strong relationships.

You Will Learn:

  • How the concept of belonging can be used as a tool to foster connectedness in families where one parent travels for work
  • Belonging to people, places and purpose
  • Making internal changes to reinforce one’s sense of belonging.
  • Creating your own community to belong to

Guest Links:

Website

Megan’s Book

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Transcript

Megan Norton [00:00:15]:

My dad would when he was working abroad and then came back, he would always bring a little souvenir or a little gift for my brother and I, and that really spoke into love languages and how that's a sense of belonging, gift giving, gift receiving is something that was part of our family culture that really solidified. Yes, we belong. And I thought about you when I was away, and this is what I brought back to you.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:00:48]:

Welcome to holding the fort abroad, the podcast created to support families facing the challenges of frequent business travel and working away from home. My name is Rhoda Bangater, and today my guest is Megan Norton. Megan is well known in the circles of people who support third culture kids. TCKs, as they are known, are children who grew up outside their parents' country, of origin. Megan is the author of belonging beyond Borders, Third Culture Kid Mentor, and she's an intercultural communication trainer. Megan, thank you so much for joining me here, and welcome.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:01:25]:

Hi, Rhoda. It's so good to be with you. And I always enjoy our conversations, so I'm so delighted for this hour of talking with you.

Megan Norton [00:01:34]:

Thank you so much. So my definition of TCK, was it, right?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:01:38]:

Yes. Accurate.

Megan Norton [00:01:40]:

Okay. I know there's mobility in there as well.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:01:44]:

Yes. Traditional tcks have that distinguishing factor of high mobility outside of their passport culture or countries. And being a subset of ccks, there is that distinguishing factor, but there's always that cross cultural factor too, with all ccks.

Megan Norton [00:02:06]:

Right. So now, cross cultural kids kind of in globe third culture kids with the high mobility part, but also missionary kids, kids who may stay in one place, but maybe from migrant families who cross cultures and educational kids who go to school somewhere else. Right. And there's all sorts of different experiences, I suppose is the word. And I know for myself, as a missionary kid, finding those labels actually helped me with identity. I know some people really hate it. And then there's the third category of people who really hate it, but sometimes actually hear it for the first time or hear it or go to events and then go, oh, actually, there are bits there that really are helpful to know about the experience of what I've experienced growing up. And I know that you've grown up moving around quite a bit from both your parents are us, right?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:06]:

Yes.

Megan Norton [00:03:07]:

And then you moved around as a child.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:08]:

Yes. And the sector or system in which I grew up was foreign service.

Megan Norton [00:03:14]:

Right.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:14]:

With my dad being a diplomat, we moved every two to three years to a different country.

Megan Norton [00:03:19]:

Yeah. In your book, I was looking at the list of countries that you moved. Quite impressive.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:25]:

I was thinking very different, regionally, geographically, culturally. Yes.

Megan Norton [00:03:30]:

Right. How many continents? Is it? Like two or three continents?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:34]:

Did you. More. Yes, yes. But you know what? I've never been to South America yet. I need to.

Megan Norton [00:03:43]:

Okay. Okay. This is a shout out. Anybody in Latin America, please invite Megan Norton. Exactly.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:03:53]:

Thank you.

Megan Norton [00:03:56]:

You've written a beautiful book on belonging, a really beautiful book. It's beautiful. The COVID is beautiful. The way it's written is beautiful. The content is beautiful. So in many ways, I think your topic is belonging, but it's also beauty, I think, personally, because every time I see you, or, like, even at the ITCK conference, your table was one of the most beautiful ones. But can you tell me a little bit more about why did you hone in on the belonging topic? I'm curious.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:04:30]:

Thank you for those compliments about my book. And one of my values that I love is beauty and creating beauty. And so that was definitely a value I wanted to put in the book. Certainly, belonging as you're an adult theraculture kid, can be a complex topic. Right. When we talk about the TCK experience, it's that. It's an experience. That was a word you just used.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:05:01]:

Sometimes we can get confused or misuse it as identity, but we're more than TcKs. Yes, we can say, I'm a TcK, but if that's the only lens that we're looking through or that we're telling ourselves we're eliminating so much more of how we can connect to others and how we can connect to people. And so, yes, to frame the TCK label as an experience can be helpful. It can also be helpful in opening our eyes into how can we find a sense of belonging both locally and globally. There's so many different challenges and benefits of the experience, and I believe that belonging is one of those. It can be both. And that, yes, we might have perhaps quote unquote shallow roots locally, but we have very wide roots. And so in the book, I use a garden analogy because I find so many intersecting pieces with cultivating belonging and watching a garden grow.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:06:18]:

It takes time, and we also need to consider what nutrients or what other elements do we need to help us grow. So it's that both, and with a garden, there's seasons of non growth. And also let's be good to ourselves in thinking about our belongings. Sometimes there is some static seasons. So, yeah, I wanted to weave in the belonging piece and the garden piece and the beauty piece of. Let's consider it more multidimensionally and look at how can we look at it from the angle of how do we belong to people, to places, and also to ourselves and our own purposes.

Megan Norton [00:07:07]:

Nice. Okay, so I serve families where one of the parents is away a lot. Right. And one of the main characteristics that I find with families that make it work is that really, they work as a unit. They consider themselves a unit, even if they're not under the same roof or in the same location, they belong to the same family. Often it's also an extra layer to this TCK experience, because when you move to another country, often when you're moving, you're moving for the parents job, and they're maybe regional directors, or they're covering more than one country, and so they're traveling, or they might even be stationed somewhere else. I think that this idea of belonging and this theme of belonging and thinking about this can be helpful for these families as well. And that's why I wanted to interview you as well, is like, I think all these concepts, if you will, are really interesting to think about in this idea of we're a family, but we're not under the same place.

Megan Norton [00:08:23]:

And so that's why I wanted to bring that idea in. How do you define belonging? The two questions. How did you define belonging, and how did you experience it sort of growing up in your own family?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:08:38]:

Wow. Two big questions. I wrote a book on that.

Megan Norton [00:08:43]:

Well, yeah. Well, that's it, right? I don't want to repeat too much of what's in the book, because I really want people to buy it, to be able to actually enjoy it, the whole thing. Right. We would only be repeating what's in the book, and I'd rather people go and actually enjoy everything that you've laid out for them, because it is beautiful and it's all there, everything people need about this. But back to you. Sorry.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:09:09]:

Yeah, thank you. Well, belonging is a tremendous topic, and it's not one that's exclusive or only for tcks. It's actually a universal human need and concept we all need to consider. We are relational beings. We're hardwired to connect. And so what does that look like when we talk about belonging? Well, we need to think about the pieces of belonging also how belonging changes. It's a head and a heart journey, and with that journey, there's going to be changes. The only constant in life is change.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:09:49]:

And so considering that's going to be applicable to our sense of belonging as well. In childhood, you mentioned with high mobility families, sometimes the parental units will be separated for a time or a season, and that was accurate for our family. My dad had tdy. I think it's a military term, but it comes from temporary duty station. But these short term assignments outside of your typical posting, and that was very common, actually, in every posting, my dad would go to a different country or a different part of the country for a few weeks or maybe a couple of months. And with that, there was that solo parenting that my mom did. What I want to bring up with this point in terms of belonging is that nowadays I think it's easier to communicate, right, with our iPhones or Zoom and things. And so when there is solo parenting, there can be that additional layer of communication that the father or mother can have with their children.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:11:07]:

But when I was growing up, that wasn't part of the story. But my dad would, when he was working abroad and then came back, he would always bring a little souvenir or a little gift for my brother and I. And that really spoke into love languages and how that's a sense of belonging. Gift giving, gift receiving is something that was part of our family culture that really solidified. Yes, we belong. And I thought about you when I was away, and this is what I brought back to you. So I have these little objects and trinkets, even into my adulthood, from his travels, that are really meaningful to me. They're not expensive by any means, but if they're gone, that's devastating for me.

Megan Norton [00:12:05]:

Wow. So it made that much of an.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:12:08]:

Absolutely. And I mean, sometimes I can identify which country a certain object, know, like, I have a coaster from Portugal or I have this little cute coin purse from, you know. So it's just these really impactful, meaningful objects that remind me. Oh, yes. My dad thought about me, and this is what he brought back for me.

Megan Norton [00:12:34]:

Wow. Because I have the impression you have a good relationship with your parents. Right. With both of them. How young were you when your dad started traveling? Or was it like, always part of your life that you'd be gone at some point and then come back and then go again?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:12:51]:

Yeah, always part. Always part. Actually, my mom tells the story that he was in the Philippines when she was pregnant with me in Virginia in the US, and she said, get back here because I'm about to give birth. Yeah. It's been a part of our family rhythm of knowing that there was going to be this separation in solo parenting for seasons.

Megan Norton [00:13:17]:

Wow. Okay. I love what you said. So really, you have a sense of belonging with your mom and with your dad?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:13:26]:

Yes. And actually, I think part of that is with that high mobility piece, it's the nuclear family that is always moving as a unit. So my last name is Norton. I call us the Norton core four. With my brother and my parents. It's really special because we know each other's life histories in moving to different counties, and we hold each other's memories. So I think, yeah, that's been a huge bonding factor. And even though we're all in different states now, and even in our adulthood, my brother and I, we've been in different countries at times, there's this fierce kind of protection of, we might not see each other, but, yeah, we're always going to have each other's back.

Megan Norton [00:14:22]:

Yeah. You're the only ones who knows exactly what it was like, even though, I mean, siblings can have different experiences because they experience things at different ages. But I'm fascinated by what you're saying about growing up with a dad who was away a lot. A couple of episodes ago, I interviewed Anaju, whose dad also traveled a lot. I asked her if she resented her dad for not being there or for being traveling a lot. Did he miss any big days or any things like that?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:14:54]:

No, not that I can remember super significant days. No. I'm learning a lot about childhood attachment and what that looks like with the primary caretakers, and that's given a lot of insight. We didn't have this language, or my parents probably didn't have this language when they were parenting. But when you put, like they did the child first. Right. In terms of what their needs are and also being really hyper aware of what's going on in school, what are some programs or sports events, things like that. I think that's tremendously impactful for a child attached and to know that they're loved.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:15:47]:

So when there's that strong and healthy attachment, it allows for distance and purity of. I'm not being abandoned, but I am known and seen and loved.

Megan Norton [00:16:00]:

Right. I love that because it attaches it. It kind of ties it to belonging. Right. This attachment. Attachment. And then belonging to someone, you felt like that you belonged there. What about belonging to places?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:16:15]:

Yes. That's a whole nother conversation.

Megan Norton [00:16:19]:

Yeah, that's a Biggie. Well, yeah, I suppose I feel that. I feel fragmented, belonging to different places. And it's hard to reconcile this a little bit with. I mean, I'm laughing, but it can be sometimes painful.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:16:33]:

What I think was really unique and quite special with the state Department is that you get the notice that you're going to be moving, or at least in our family experience, you get the notice that you're going to move within the next year. And so there's already this understanding of, okay, we can start preparing for what's, you know, some of my TCK friends who grew up in the US military system, sometimes it was, you have new orders within the next month and you're gone and your best friend is no longer in that seat in the classroom. And so, yeah, I think with belonging to place, there was pretty much a healthy rhythm of, okay, we're going to be moving, we're going to be preparing for the new. And that gave some time to have some closure with visiting places we really loved and things like that.

Megan Norton [00:17:38]:

Did your parents give you a strong sense of their home country? Because I'm wondering whether that is helpful too, in a family, say a family that's split geographically, that's moving around. Right. You said, yeah, that can actually help in a way because you're this family unit that has high mobility. But I think for a family who's not moving and where, say, the dad is going to another country, I think maybe having that strong sense of also cultural roots, that belonging to a place could probably help. I don't know how much of. And I think even if your parents are from two different cultures, having maybe those traditions from those two or more countries can be strong. What do you think?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:18:28]:

Yeah, that's an interesting conversation, I think, to explore just based on what traditions, what holidays, what cultural pieces that you always celebrate despite location, how do you intentionally adapt? Because it can look differently in different countries, but you always know you're going to celebrate that because that's part of your cultural identity as a. And yeah, both of my parents hold us citizenship. My mom, her dad was in the US military, so she had high mobility in her upbringing, too. So different attachments to places. My dad grew up in Michigan. And in terms of some sort of stability, there was always that place or that landing there between postings at my grandparents house. And so there was always this kind of childhood attachment and security in Michigan and actually in adulthood. I've lived in Michigan and I've had to reconsider what that attachment is as an adult because there was that historical root.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:19:50]:

But how do you negotiate it as an adult is a totally different story because again, your sense of belonging is going to be to people who are now your age and in the workplace and in community and so completely different experience for me in attaching to Michigan.

Megan Norton [00:20:11]:

Interesting. And there's always a part of you, I suppose, that's not from there. Right. And that's attached to another place.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:20:19]:

Yes. Exactly.

Megan Norton [00:20:21]:

Interesting. So what was the third one you said? Belonging to people, belonging to place, belonging to purpose. Belonging to purpose. That's a good one. Do you think that's something that you developed as an adult, or do you think that there was a family purpose growing up, or there was a. I'm trying to investigate sort of your sense of belonging as you grew up in the family moving and also with a parent who was traveling.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:20:50]:

Yeah, that's a great question to know if we think about the TCK sectors. Right. We have foreign service, military, missionary, international educator, diplomats. So in Pollock and Van Rican's book, they talk about that purpose of why are you moving? And it's that sense of duty to country or sense of duty to God or sense of duty to education and people. Diplomacy, perhaps. So, yeah, that's a new kind of realization for me of what was our purpose and why did we move, and how much did I internalize that as a child of a mini diplomat? Yeah. In international schools I grew up in, there were so many of us tcks that it wasn't really a question of, like, why are you here in this country? But the question actually was, which country did you just move? Saying, yeah, I'm american. But then, yeah, I just moved from Germany, or I just moved from.

Megan Norton [00:22:12]:

So kids didn't really ask, what is your dad? Or what do your parents do? Or anything. It was mostly like, which country did you just come from?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:22:21]:

Not that I can recall. But, yeah, I think that sense of purpose does kind of become a dominant question into adulthood, because then you're choosing for yourself what career and also what place are you going to have your career.

Megan Norton [00:22:42]:

Yeah. And so then what you're saying is it's important to work on developing your sense of purpose, refining your sense of purpose, figuring out your sense of purpose so that you actually, I suppose, find belonging and find stability. Is that what you're saying? I wonder, though. I wonder how much it's helpful for kids to know, especially when a parent is traveling, to know how much know why the parent is traveling, the skills that they're using to help people without sort of negating the child's feelings. But I'm pretty sure it would be useful anyway, just a food for thought for listeners and for myself to think. Yeah. How much do we share with children the sense of purpose? Even if it's a career for a parent or financial reasons, I think it's also important to share it and just say, this is why we're doing it, because I find that a lot of families have good reasons to be moving, right? I mean, we don't just move because it's suddenly some out of the blue decision. Parents of TCKs move because they have reasons to.

Megan Norton [00:24:01]:

I'm enjoying this conversation on belonging. It's making me think, what's the difference between belonging and identity? Is that another big question?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:24:11]:

Yeah, I certainly think there's overlap there, because I think you need to first reflect on and be honest about your identity to be able to be able to have a sense of belonging. So who are you? What are your interests? What are your likes, dislikes? Also thinking more values. Values, right. Even your emotional health. What gets you angry, frustrated, what gives you peace? And what do you need in those moments? I also think that your identity is also, what kind of spiritual and faith do you ascribe to or not ascribe to? Align yourself with, and in doing that, then have a clear picture of, okay, what are my options for investing in this community, or to cultivate belonging in a certain cultural or community environment? So, getting really aware of who you are, what you need, what you like, dislike, will help you determine where to spend your time and where to invest. I talk about in the book the fear of missing out fomo, and how, yeah, social media has absolutely exemplified and exploded fomo sometimes because we see what people are doing or what we're missing out on. But I flip it and say, what is the joy of missing out? Jomo? The joy of missing out is when you are very clear on who you are, what you want, and then, you know, that's not for me. That's okay.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:26:03]:

I am happy for you. But I've chosen to spend my time and invest myself in this way.

Megan Norton [00:26:09]:

I like that. I think it's useful to do it personally as individually.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:26:14]:

Right.

Megan Norton [00:26:15]:

To kind of align. That's so important. And I always say, like, you don't have to destroy the life that you have to live the life that you want. I think maybe sometimes you do, but I don't think you necessarily have to. I think some of these changes don't have to be that radical, and yet when you do them, they end up changing your life course. It's like that 1% change, but then ten years down the road, you're in a completely different place than if you hadn't made that change. And I think aligning some of these personally, I'm thinking about moms or dads who are home, maybe alone with their kids right now and whose partners are traveling. I think doing this exercise doesn't necessarily mean you're going to change your circumstances, but it might change you, because then there are things that you can do within the parameters of your life that will make it much more like, feel like you belong to it.

Megan Norton [00:27:16]:

And then if it doesn't work, then you can go to the next, whatever next steps are or however you want to take. But I think making that first step of that belonging in your purpose and doing that exercise, I think is something that I did about five years ago, maybe more than that now, maybe seven years ago, started me on this whole journey of saying, what are the internal changes, the internal alignments? What do I like? What do I not like? It helps us put boundaries with other people. And I hate the word boundary because I feel like some people use it as an excuse to kind of say no to things they can't be bothered to do, but it helps us naturally, I think, kind of say, hey, this I'm going to do or let in, and this I'm not going to allow or enable or tolerate. So I think for any parent who's home and who's maybe frustrated, I think this is a really good framework to work off. Which people do I belong to? Which people belong to me? Which places do I belong to? Which places do I love? Which places rejuvenate me? Which places give me energy? And then what's my purpose? And finding that purpose, even if it's within the parameters where you think you can't change them. But actually, I think there's a lot of leeway in what we can do. And I think the example that you give as well, that you here again is an adult child of a parent who traveled and who's fine, but there was intention, I think, from your parents side. I think there's this idea of commitment to family, family unit, and it shows that it's possible, right? Yeah, because I think that's the biggest question people ask is like, oh, am I going to ruin my kids? This is maybe where lengths of absence comes in.

Megan Norton [00:29:19]:

I think your dad was gone three weeks to a month. But still, if it was regular, it probably meant that he was away a lot, right?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:29:27]:

Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that's coming up for me right now in how you're framing things is with our purpose. We choose where we invest, and I've used that word previously, but sometimes we frame belonging as how other people are investing in us, but to really have a sense of belonging. How so?

Megan Norton [00:29:58]:

You said sometimes we frame belonging in how people invest in us. Can you give us an example?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:30:04]:

Yeah. Okay. So maybe we're in a sports club or in a community. And then we're always thinking about how our coaches or trainers are giving us direction. But what about the other way? How are we giving back? And maybe it's just expressing gratitude, but also, how are you contributing back? I think about faith communities. Sometimes we can sit in services or programs, and people are pouring into us or teaching us, training us, but in the end, what are we doing with that? And how are we then doing that as we're being poured into, how do we pour into others? And so that's a key part of belonging, too. And to understand your purpose is to how you've been given, how do you give back? And that's investing. So what's coming up for me in terms of the childhood is we were part of christian faith communities, and that was a very stable, that was very predictable part of my childhood.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:31:20]:

Whenever we moved, we would get involved in a church community. And so that was a very stabilizing and constant part of knowing, okay, I can invest and learn and grow in this community. And I think that was also a pretty core anchoring part of belonging. And also when perhaps my dad traveled, I always knew that community was always going to be there.

Megan Norton [00:31:53]:

So I suppose what you're saying is that goes with belonging to places, right. And also what came to mind when you were talking with people often the habits of happy kids. We have the book the habits of happy kids, I think it's called. It's a covey book, but I think it's his son that wrote it anyway. And it's like happy kids create their own happiness. So, in a way, what you're saying is create your own belonging, right. Find your own community. One of the dads here who's a stay at home dad, that's what he says.

Megan Norton [00:32:31]:

He says. And actually, some other people, plenty of people tell me, like, just go out, create your own network, create your own community. And what you're saying is, as you give back to a community, you feed that sense of belonging to that community.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:32:48]:

Exactly. Yeah. I mean, it's who do you claim? But who claims you?

Megan Norton [00:32:55]:

Yes. I love that boy. Okay, we've covered a lot. Is there anything you want to add?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:33:01]:

Oh, dear. Yeah, we have covered a lot. And I appreciate so much going in and out of conversation and seeing it all take off in different directions. But, yeah, in the end, I think tcks are individuals who can draw upon their upbringings and just move in and out of different social circles in very unique ways, because, yes, they have the personal identities, but they also, I think, learn shared identity at a very early age. I talk about this in terms of Tcks or anybody who goes play on the playground in a new country. They might not speak the same language as the other children on the playground, but they're playing or they're playing football together. And that's that shared identity piece of, we don't have the same maybe upbringing or even nationality, but we're finding ways to connect. And I think that's a huge skill, and that's where we need to do that self reflection first on our identity and figure out how can we connect with our shared identity to create more a sense of belonging.

Megan Norton [00:34:27]:

Beautiful. Great. Can you tell me a little bit about your work as an intercultural trainer? Just as we finish this conversation, I'm curious. So you work with corporate clients. Do you work with private clients?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:34:44]:

Yes. Three main sectors I work with are corporate, state department, and also nonprofit, particularly missionary or humanitarian sectors.

Megan Norton [00:35:01]:

So what main groups do you work with?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:35:04]:

One on one or groups? Sometimes with family units. It really depends.

Megan Norton [00:35:10]:

Conferences as a speaker?

Rhoda Bangerter [00:35:12]:

Yes.

Megan Norton [00:35:12]:

Family units. Okay.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:35:15]:

Yeah. In terms of corporate, it's usually when a family is moving to a different country and doing pre departure training.

Megan Norton [00:35:25]:

Okay, that's what I was going to ask. So what, you mainly work with them? It's mostly like preparing for a different culture. What about families who have already moved? They would still benefit. Right. Because it's not just general cross cultural.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:35:44]:

You do, you would do specific. Yes. And then also another group I really enjoy working with are TCKs who are university bound or maybe taking a gap year or entering the workforce, doing that transition care of what to think about in this move without the family unit. It's a huge transition, and I think it's really neat to come alongside TCKs who are going through that transition to help them in emerging adulthood. How do you adult without the family?

Megan Norton [00:36:20]:

Yes. Oh, wow. Super. Thank you so much, Megan. I've really enjoyed this and all your contact details will be in the show notes. And it's been really nice unpacking this topic, but also getting to know a little bit behind the scenes, a little bit about your life.

Rhoda Bangerter [00:36:36]:

Yes. Rhoda, always such a delight to talk to you and thank you for doing this platform so that other people can understand and also resource share about how to do life as global nomads.

Megan Norton [00:36:50]:

Thank you. I hope that you found this episode encouraging and that maybe you found ideas to apply in your own situation. Please leave me a review of what you found helpful, what you would like to hear about, and any other comments you would like to leave. This helps other people find this podcast, and it also gives me feedback, so it's very helpful. Thank you very much, and until next time.

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Rhoda Bangerter

Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.

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