3 Keys to Create Family Belonging

For those juggling the demands of frequent work travel and family life, fostering a
sense of belonging is both a challenge and a necessity.

In episode #41 of Holding the Fort Abroad, Megan Norton, a Third Culture Kid (TCK) mentor and author of “Belonging Beyond Borders”, weaves her personal experiences with insights into the complexities
of belonging for those navigating this journey.

Listen to the full episode here.

Episode cover 41 - Rhoda Bangerter

The Foundation of Family Belonging

Growing up with a diplomat father who travelled frequently, Megan’s childhood was
marked by constant movement across continents and cultures. Yet despite this transient
lifestyle, she speaks of how her family forged a strong sense of belonging within their
nuclear unit.

The “Norton core four,” as she fondly calls them, developed deep roots in
each other’s life histories, holding onto memories and traditions no matter where they
moved. Megan realised early on that belonging is about more than just being physically
present; it’s about being emotionally connected and engaged.
This realisation has led her to recognise the importance of parents understanding their
children’s needs and actively participating in their school lives, from programs to
sporting events. This helps foster a sense of attachment, where children feel known,
seen, and cherished.

Sharing Purpose:

Building on the idea of understanding needs, Megan highlights the importance of
parents sharing their sense of purpose with their children, even if it involves career or
financial reasons for moving. She emphasises that families often have good reasons for
their decisions, and sharing this sense of purpose can be helpful for children in
understanding their family’s choices and finding their sense of belonging.

Creating Community Bonds

Belonging to people outside the “Norton core four” was also a fundamental part of
Megan’s childhood, particularly within the context of faith communities. Wherever they
moved, Megan’s family found solace and connection in the familiar rituals of church life.
Megan emphasises that this consistent thread of community is a great example of
providing continuity and belonging amidst the ever-changing landscape of global

Understanding one’s identity:

As Megan grew into adulthood, she found herself pondering the concept of belonging
with greater depth. The transition from a TCK childhood to navigating adulthood brought
new challenges and opportunities for self-reflection.
Megan emphasises the importance of understanding one’s identity and values as the
cornerstone of belonging. By knowing oneself deeply, individuals can better navigate
the complexities of connecting with others and finding purpose in their lives.


Megan’s insightful journey through the intricacies of belonging offers valuable lessons
for those navigating their own paths. Combining personal anecdotes with professional
wisdom, she highlights the dynamic nature of belonging. By embracing our identities,
forming connections, and nurturing purpose, we cultivate bonds that transcend
boundaries. In this tapestry of belonging, Megan’s poignant question, “Who do you
claim? But who claims you?” speaks to the very essence of our search for home.

Guest Links:


Megan’s Book

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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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