To the Parents of Third Culture Kids

by Marilyn on November 15, 2013

 

To the Parents of Third Culture Kids

If you are raising your children in a country other than their passport country, you are raising third culture kids. The definition used most often is this one from the late Dave Pollock: A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background”

I was raised as a third culture kid and went on to raise third culture kids for 10 years. There is much I don’t know, much I can’t articulate. But some things I do know and in these next few minutes I offer them. They are not comprehensive and they are not formulaic; there are far better and wiser voices that have documented research on the topic. But these words are offered with humility and a prayer that they will resonate with grace and hope.

Guilt will get you nowhere. If you feel guilty for raising your children overseas, I encourage you to seek counsel. Guilt is an unproductive emotional pitfall that will warp your parenting. Guilt is defined as “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.” Living overseas is not an offense, nor is it a crime. For many it is a high calling, for others it is a career move. No matter, guilt cuts deeply and helps no one, instead causing stress, undue anxiety, and ultimately destroyed relationships. The guilt felt over raising children overseas is false guilt. No child has a say in what their parents become. My husband’s father is a mechanic. He did not consult my husband and ask him if that would be okay, and rightly so. This overseas life is not about kids agreeing or disagreeing with your life calling. It is about living well and faithfully within that calling. Lose the guilt – take a helium balloon, write the word GUILT in big letters, then release it and watch it go until you see it no more. That’s where guilt belongs – out of sight, leaving your body and your heart free to live faithfully right where you are.  Okay – so you live in Somalia or Mumbai and helium balloons are nowhere to be found. A piece of paper will do just as well. Write the words, then light a match and burn them. Watch them burn away through the light of the holy fire of faith.

Your ‘back home’ is not your children’s ‘back home’. You may have grown up in a small town, surrounded by generations of family and friends who are still in the town. That is home and that is what you miss when overseas. You miss the smell of newly mowed grass, the sounds of downtown, the feel of putting on a heavy sweater in the fall as you walk through vibrant colors of red, gold, and orange. Your children don’t miss those things. They never knew them. Their reality is not your reality. Their ‘back home’ is not your ‘back home’. When they go to their passport countries for periodic visits, that’s exactly what those trips are: they are visits. They are not going ‘home’.

Faith can get complicated. Missions work comes with a high calling and a whole lot of baggage. It is hard to discern what’s real and what’s false. Your home churches may be both safe and disturbing for you. In the west we have created an idolatry of ministry and those who live overseas are high on the pedestal. Being able to speak honestly with church leadership about your struggles, your fears, your worries that you will fall from the false pedestal helps everybody. Your kids? They don’t want the pedestal. When they find marijuana behind the churchyard, they don’t want to be the ‘missionary kids that are struggling’. They want to be able to work out their faith in safe spaces, spaces where questions are welcome and struggles are honored. Try and communicate this to those you trust, work toward creating a safe spot for faith questions.

You have the power to create a ‘place’. While holding the mantra ‘this world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through’ may be helpful for you, it probably won’t be for your children. Paul Tournier, a well-known Swiss Psychologist, has some profound insights on place in his book A Place for You. He says that to be human is to need a place, to be rooted and attached to that place. We are “incarnate beings” and so when those places are taken away, we suffer from a “disruption” of place. If the disruption goes beyond our ability to adapt it becomes a pathology – Tournier calls this a “deprivation of place”. As parents, you can create ‘place’, you can create ‘home’. Through traditions that are not confined to geographic location, through family memories and jokes, through special items that will always be there, whether they be framed pictures, candle holders, or books, you can create ‘place’. My parents have lived in more homes than I can count, but when I walk into their space, whether it be a 4-bedroom home in the woods of New England, or a house with stained glass windows and a 30 foot high ceiling in Pakistan, there are certain things that speak to me of ‘home’, of ‘place’. A small painting of a New England winter, Daily Bread on the side of their table with all their mail, my dad’s desk, filled with books and papers with his characteristic hand-writing — all of this embodies ‘place’, creates a feeling of ‘home’.

Learn how to grieve well, help your children know how to grieve well. Dave Pollock, a pioneer in bringing attention to the third culture kid journey, said this: “Most TCKs go through more grief experiences by the time they are 20 than monocultural individuals do in a lifetime.” You’ve already experienced the frequent goodbyes, the unknowns, the sometimes inconsistent journey. Know that grief is good, grief is individual, grief is rarely nicely organized, grief is physical and emotional. Because grief is a part of the journey, learning how to grieve well is critical.

Put fun into the journey. The memories of sitting in airports or at sidewalk cafes, riding in rickshaws or horse-drawn carriages, laughing at family jokes, yearly trips to the ocean where everyone was on vacation and phones and computers were left far behind – you will regret none of those. This world is a mansion and you have had the privilege of exploring many rooms with your children, and many airports connecting those rooms — so never doubt the fun of the journey, the privilege of the call.

In closing, this journey is a journey laced with grace. To communicate that grace to your kids is the biggest gift you will ever give them. Much of our past has been put into photo albums, blog posts, and memories of the heart. There is no doubt this life of pilgrimage comes with unique challenges, peculiar pains, unspoken losses –  but for all those there is always and ever Grace.

Readers — what would you add to this post? What else would help on this journey of raising third culture kids? 

Marilyn Gardner loves God, her family, and her passport and can be found blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries.

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About Marilyn

An adult third culture kid, Marilyn grew up in Pakistan and then raised her own 5 third culture kids in Pakistan and Egypt. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts 15 minutes from the international terminal. She works with underserved, minority communities as a public health nurse and flies to the Middle East & Pakistan as often as possible. She is the author of Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging and you can find her blogging at Communicating Across Boundaries.
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  • I just blogged a double post on TCK’s and the way they relate to friends as adults. I also chose grace as the focal point of discussion. I’m a TCK raising TCKs so I know well the truth you write, this is a journey laced with grace. Thank you!

    http://cindybrandt.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/five-tips-on-friending-a-tck/

    http://cindybrandt.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/five-reasons-to-friend-tcks/

    • Marilyn Gardner

      I look forward to reading these right now Cindy – thank you for writing and I can’t wait to hear more from another TCK raising TCK’s. We have to stick together.

  • karen huber

    great reminders, thank you!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Thanks for reading and for these words Karen.

  • Rachel ‘Pieh’ Jones

    Bookmarking this to come back to in the future. Thanks Marilyn. I love so much here – the create a place, no guilt, learning how to grieve, acknowledging that faith is complicated.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Thanks Rachel – all those and more, right?!

  • Thank you for this helpful post! The idea of creating “place” stood out to me. Sometimes cross-cultural workers can get so unattached, “My real home is heaven” that it is actually unhelpful. I love walking into a home that has been obviously crafted as a safe, cozy space. Even as a visitor you feel the warmth.
    One of the best little things I’ve done when we’ve moved house is to take all the things on the fridge, stick them in a bag, and then put them right up in the new kitchen. Same with the family calendar and a few stand-alone framed photos.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Love, love this! I’m going to do this next time we move. Those are the tangible things that seem so little, but they work. I have friends my parents age, and she was the one that modeled how to create a home out of a mud hut for me. I’ve never forgotten it!

  • Tonya

    So true! Simple and profound at the same time! Good thoughts to share and remember. I am a TCK sending my own TCK off to college next fall. It is God’s grace and strength and hope that keeps us centered and has comforted us along this journey.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      I wish we could sit down together with tea — I’d love to talk more about being a TCK raising TCK’s — I found that a whole other journey. One I loved until we moved to the U.S.

  • Debbie

    I am pondering your definition of home for the child. I don’t necessarily disagree but had an interesting perspective this summer when we visited the states for two months. I think it matters how long and when you have lived in a place. My daughter may consider our home in Honduras her real home, and she is happy enough here, but it was striking to see how immediately comfortable she was in the home of her grandparents, my in-laws, where we lived for one year before moving here. She was 2-3 that year, and she is more comfortable there and with them than any other place, and she is most likely to ask about Nebraska as where she wants to go. At least for her young life (she is 5-1/2), I think for her, that is “home”!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      It makes sense — I think though that as you get older, and have more time in a place, the living between worlds piece comes into play and you realize you are of neither one world or the other. That for me, and for other ATCK’s I’ve spoken with, is when some of the non geographic symbols of home become important. I love what another commenter said about taking all the stuff off the refrigerator and putting it onto the new fridge. Those tangible pieces are critical. At the same time I will say, my kids had a really special relationship with my parents home once they retired from Pakistan and lived in the woods of Massachusetts. We would go there for 6 weeks every other summer and they loved what we affectionately called “8-acre woods”

  • Sherri

    Guilt is a tool of our enemy to discourage us in our work for HIS kingdom. While I have never burned it or busted it. I have placed a mental stake in the ground in my mind and said ‘done’. Two of our TCKs are finding their way in the US while we are still in Ethiopia with their brother. So proud of the young adults all three are becoming and seeing their faith as their own.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Love hearing this about your kids. Pictures of grace. Thanks also for the words on guilt. Absolutely spot on.

  • We’ve always said to our daughters that home is wherever we are all together, which has gotten tricky since they went off to college in the States. But the furniture stays the same, the photos and artwork stay the same and the carpets and knickknack stay the same, no matter where the house is, so those secure “place” as well.

    I love the part about letting go of guilt, Marilyn. We do the best we can and I believe our children benefit from more than they are deprived of in this transient-type life. Both of mine have written school essays over the years confirming that for me. For which I am forever grateful.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Oh I love that your kids wrote school essays. Mine did as well. My oldest wrote a poignant piece for her college essay that still makes me cry. my third wrote his college essay about our first year back and the adjustment process and how a pond in the back yard was what helped him that year. That in the back yard on the pond they could be pirates or explorers or fisherman, a way to make it in this new world. Thanks so much for sharing this as I had forgotten about those important pieces with my kids.

  • Richelle Wright

    For me, one thing that ties in with letting go of guilt is acknowledging mistakes have and will happen. Then I can do what I need to correct (if possible) and then learn and go on and be thankful for that opportunity to learn and change directions as needed. Being open, acknowledging/admitting, seeking forgiveness and restitution as possible and dealing with sin and/or mistakes in a way that allows me to model it for my children will also address some of the issues of working out/working through questions of faith. Although I probably wouldn’t say that faith gets complicated. I think faith is pretty simple and straightforward when it comes to the basics of either you believe or you don’t. I do agree that the outworking of that will look different… and the struggles and the battles we go through to hang on to that faith and for our tcks to make it their own… those can often become complicated.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Exactly. It’s the working out of our faith and what it looks like as it becomes ours. While I don’t think this is unique to TCK’s, I think anyone who is raised with parents whose faith is paramount to their life would go through a similar process. What can look different is the piece of parents wanting to be honest with those “back home” when it’s not always easy to say your kid is struggling. And as TCK’s, ATCKs identity gets mixed up in the process. The whole faith journey can get tangled up in the TCK journey of identity and belonging. I’d love to hear more from you on this as you walk your TCK’s through the faith piece.

      • Richelle Wright

        We really are just starting this journey ~

        Our big prayer as our son left for his freshman year was that God would show Himself powerful as his God, working on his behalf… not just for Mom and Dad and for our family and our ministry. He believes in God but God isn’t very real on a personal level. We are seeing God working to answer that prayer… and not how we expected. There certainly are growing pains where our boy looks at different interpretations of biblical texts, ones that vary (and sometimes drastically) from what our church teaches and what they elevate (or at least it sometimes feels that way) to make or break doctrines. While I agree they are important, things like a literal 7 days creation (which I believe) or Noah, Job, Jonah, etc., as historical figures (which I believe) – they aren’t reasons to write someone off… yet many in our circles will. That pains me. And it is scary to have my son considering those ideas because not only am I wrestling with that as his mother and he’s moving off in an unexpected direction, I also won’t agree with others that he’s wrong to look at these issues differently and that leaves me open to criticism as well. Frankly, I’m proud of my boy (and we’ve told him that) for being willing to wrestle with hard questions and being willing to talk with his dad and I about what he’s learning and why he’s questioning what he’s always been taught… about what intrigues and compels him from some of these other interpretations and being open to ideas even if they aren’t the same as Dad and Mom’s ideas. But you’d better believe I’m careful who I’d mention all that to… So we’re still praying “God show Yourself powerful and real to our young man” and trying to wait with anticipation for just how He will do that – even if God chooses unexpected paths for our son.

        And then we get to do it all over again… several more times… so I fully know I don’t really know what I’m talking about and fully expect to make all sorts of mistakes…

        • Marilyn Gardner

          Oh Richelle – this so hits home for me. We’ve watched our kids questions, dice, parse, struggle, cry and the journey isn’t over. But one thing I’ve realized — you do have to pick carefully who you share with. Ultimately we pray the same prayer that you do “Show yourself real and powerful. May they know Christ Crucified, the Risen Lord” Thank you so much for your words and honesty.

  • The Reader

    Wonderfully written. I am prepping my family for a return to the US after over six years in Brazil, and as we weed out what comes back with us and what doesn’t it is exactly that “sense of place” stuff that will come. The photo albums, the paintings, the little figurines that symbolize our family….the things that belong uniquely to our family.

    And, while it is “back home” for my husband and I, and our older boys are eager to return to family, our youngest very much feels we are leaving home. I can only hope that he adjusts as well to the place we visit as his brothers did to this place we had never even seen before we came. That is what I hold onto as we prep — will it be a hard adjustment? Yes. But he does have the benefit of familiarity at least, which we didn’t have when we moved the first time.

    Sharing your post so friends and family will have an inkling what we are facing.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      So glad to hear a bit of your story. This whole place thing has been an ongoing conversation for me in my mind and with others over the years. I absolutely love the book I talked about in the post. One of the things that is of great comfort is that throughout history God has used place so specifically to draw people to himself. Comfort indeed. Thanks for sharing the post – I feel honored.

  • Christine

    I grew up as a TCK in one country and raised my kids as TCKs in another country. I remember very clearly a moment of shock and panic when my kids were young and I actually realized that the nostalgia of hot spicy curries, parathas and roadside teashops for me were going to be replaced by rice balls wrapped in seaweed and hole-in-the-wall noddle shops for them. It was a point when I seriously questioned my sanity and at the same moment had a clear picture of what my parents must also have felt. I wondered if I could really go through with it. At times it still feels odd to be the only one in my immediate family that would choose a dirty dark teashop with flies any day over a sushi bar!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      I love this Christine! I felt the same way in Egypt — The only Indian restaurant was this grossly expensive one that was not authentic, I realized they would never know Karachi beach, or Murree, or the foods you mention. Their reality would be hummus, pita bread, ahwa shops, the pyramids etc. I still regret not taking them to Pakistan at one point when we could have gone. It would have been amazing as they were older.

    • Heidi

      I can totally relate as another TCK adult from Asia raising my own TCK in Europe. It has been really important for me to share that part of me with my family, and so we made the effort to visit my childhood home country on several occasions. My husband and son have now developed their own sweet memories of my “home” and we can reminisce together about the tropical ocean, mangoe smoothies, and tricycle rides 🙂

  • luv2mtb

    Nothing new here, and I flat out disagree with “Your ‘back home’ is not your children’s ‘back home.'” I left the US when I was 12 and didn’t return till I was 17. I feel the attachment to the common “back home” that I share with my parents and siblings much more than most Americans do.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      This is a good reminder that there is not a one size fits all approach and that responses to concepts of home are related to a variety of things. Most of the TCKs and ATCKs I know were either born or taken overseas at a couple months old and so have a completely different view of home than their parents. That said, as you point out, there can be a variety of responses.

    • TomC

      As a missionary for 30 years in Central America and raising three children there, my view is that had you left the US at a much earlier age, you would have a different view. Your country identity had already been strongly established.

    • sarah

      Not to criticise your way of seeing it, but my view on this is that you were brought up for 12 years in the US so that is your home and was the place where you were “formed”. You were only away for 5 years. I think true TCKs have never spent much time in the places that their parents would could call “home”.

  • Eden

    Thanks for this post. Our kids were 6 and 8 when we moved to Kenya. We were very intentional about that “sense of place” thing — our strategy was that each of them “helped” me make a quilt for their bed in Kenya. They did as much of the work as was age-appropriate, and they made all of the decisions about color, design, fabrics, etc. We made the quilts while we were still in Massachusetts, preparing to move to Kenya. The quilts came in the carry-on bag on the plane, they were spread on the bed in the guest house our first night in Nairobi, and they were on the bed our first night in our new house and every night in the 9 years since. The quilts are tattered now (the fabrics they chose didn’t really hold up!) but they represent a very strong sense of belonging and safety in God that we can carry with us throughout life, wherever we are.

    The other thing we did was to invest our energy in “identity anchor points” to nurture a sense of deep belonging for our kids. They have lost so much, their identity has been so problematized, there have been so many goodbyes, there’s always the feeling of not fitting in anywhere … but the “anchors” are the “places” where they fit in completely. These are not actually places, they are relationships — the extended family (grandparents, cousins, etc) and our home church. In these communities, they are not strangers and aliens, they belong completely. That has been so important!! Now that our eldest has left home, I can see how much those anchors have meant to him — his choice of school was primarily determined by proximity to our home church.

    Thanks for encouraging parents to let go of guilt. Sure, we’ve chosen a non-traditional life for our kids. But the blessings far outweigh the challenges. In my mind, the key to keeping that balance weighted in the right direction is open and honest communication within the family.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Eden — your “identity anchor points” really resonate with me. In fact, I’m going to copy your comment onto a word document so I can remember it. I don’t know if you write, but if you would consider doing a guest post called identity anchor points for my blog I would love it! Thank you for this comment.

  • Gail

    The whole concept of grieving and loss associated with being a TCK has only recently been highlighted. As a TCK, I knew I felt a lot of deep emotions as a child, but no one ever spoke of grieving. I was recently reading Third Culture Kids by David Pollock and he was talking about naming your losses. He asked in the book: “Did you properly say good-bye to a country you loved dearly?” and I was overcome with an intensity of emotion that opened up a flood gate buried deep within me. Naming and journaling the many losses of my childhood has been so freeing and helpful to me on so many levels… and something I wish I had done 30 years ago. Helping your kids identify, talk about and grieve through their losses is, as Marilyn says, is critical and I urge you, as parents of TCKs, to take the time to help each of your children, in their own way, through the various stages of grief.

  • Gail

    Sorry, Marilyn, I realize now, in reading through your previous posts in your blog, that you talk extensively about the issue of grieving. I guess it’s all so new to me. I am comforted to know, in reading your blog, that I am not the only TCK going through new levels of grieving as a older adult. Thanks for sharing your story! It can feel like such a lonely journey sometimes.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      No apology necessary! As an adult I too have had to name my losses and grieve so much. And going overseas again as an adult and raising kids brought up a whole other layer. The entry process to the U.S. was full of grief. As you say, it’s a gift to know we aren’t alone.

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  • great post here – as many others have said, the part about letting go of the guilt is especially helpful. I too am a TCK who is raising/has raised 3 TCKs. All three have launched into adulthood now. We went through Pollock’s RAFT acronym with them before they left to go back to the US. We are just now completing a year of furlough in the US before heading back overseas and it has been great to be able to spend time with each of the kids and see how their adjustment has gone. Each one is unique. It will be interesting now – as we go back, we are going to a new country, so the “home” the kids remember (our house in Albania) will not be the “home” in which we will be living if they are able to come for visits. Inside the four walls of our house will be familiar but everything else will be different.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Thanks Matt – I am interested in this as it relates to those of us who both were TCK’s and are raising TCK’s. I did fine raising my kids as long as we were overseas. It was moving back to the U.S. where I struggled. I didn’t know how to do this parenting thing in my passport country. And that’s where I felt the guilt — that I had removed them from a world we all loved, and settled them in a place where we all tried to find our way. Those early years were rough. I wish I’d thought of the guilt thing then and sent it up on a helium balloon. Love hearing just a fraction of your story reminding me yet again that this is all a journey.

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  • Asa

    I am Finnish and met my American husband in The Netherlands where we were stationed as we were doing missions all over Europe for 12 years. Three of our children were born there. When we later moved to the US, and people would ask my oldest son where he was from, he would say The Netherlands (for many years he would do this). Of course, neither my husband or I could identify with that since The Netherlands had never been “home” to us. It was just very eye-opening to learn my children’s perspective. Living in the US, which is also not my “home”, and for my children to have a foreign mother, has also been a challenge as they have navigated through the American culture and education. But, I believe they are far richer because of it. They indeed feel as if the world is their home and they have no problems fitting in anywhere as we’ve since traveled many more countries.

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Yes! So much richer! Our kids best buddies in Cairo were Finnish/Scottish living in Cairo….a mix of cultures and worlds. Thanks for sharing a piece of your story.

  • TLR

    Thank you, Marilyn, for re-sharing this insight and for all that you shared in your book Between Two Worlds. My husband and I have served cross-culturally for the past 15 years with our 4 children who are now all out of the nest, the last just starting her second semester of college. As she is transitioning to life in college and in the US since living elsewhere since she was 3, we are also transitioning to a new ministry which means our home as we knew it for 11 years is no longer our home. I picked up your book just a few weeks after we returned to the US last fall and now my daughter is reading it, continuing to process all these transitions. I especially appreciated your points above about creating a place and am thankful we have been able to customize the mission house we are in this year with our things. I also appreciate your encouragement that there is well-timed grace for every need and was just sharing that with my daughter last night as we were processing and grieving together. Not an easy journey for sure, but thankful for God’s presence with us and for the wisdom of those who have gone before us. Blessings!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Thank you so much for these words – I’m so pleased that you read the book! Thank you. The “place” piece has been huge to me as you know from Between Worlds. I had great role models growing up of people who worked to create space and place. And yes – grace for every step. Right now we are in the midst of decision-making for another move….I am clinging to Grace for the journey.

  • Naomi

    Another TCK here, raising 4 TCKs of my own. Great article. We had a pastoral coach come and visit once; he shared how important it was to not constantly regret all that your kids are missing by living overseas. I had to laugh, because that has never been a struggle for me. Sure, it would be great if my kids had art lessons, or science clubs, sports teams to join in. But that “lost opportunity” is only replaced by an experience money cannot buy…this is rich and it is deep. The tables are turned however, when I think of our impending return to the U.S. next year…then the mommy guilt kicks in. I know the difficulties of constantly feeling like an outsider in your passport country, no matter how good you are at faking it. I know that going back to the U.S. will bring loss and grief to my children. I’m praying that we can do this new transition well, that I can help facilitate that for my children, that His grace will be abundant even in this. My husband chuckles at me: most women would worry about taking their kids to the African bush…instead, I’m worried about taking them to the “civilized west”!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      I can’t begin to tell you how I relate with this! That’s me! Give me a ticket to the Middle East any day — my husband is in Iraq right now and how my TCK envy is kicking in. But put me face to face with an American Public School and PTO and I am paralyzed. I just spoke to a group of school nurses about culture and health care on Wednesday. Among other things, I share my story. It is so good to know that stories like ours can benefit the immigrant and refugee – because they don’t always get the voice to share it but we often do and can advocate. I’m so glad I saw this comment today – Grace to you from a kindred spirit!

  • Rachel

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I just finished reading your book and it was such a breath of fresh air to hear from the heart of another global nomad. I’ve just recently become acquainted with the term TCK and it is such a delight to find a bit of a roadmap for handling the unique struggles, strengths and passions that kind of childhood has left me with. I was so encouraged by your insights and it was so exciting to realize there are people out there who can relate! 🙂

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Rachel – thank you so much for these words! And thank you, thank you for reading the book! You describe exactly how I felt when I found the word. Me – the who never wanted to be boxed in – yet I gained so much comfort from knowing I wasn’t crazy. Great to read this today.

  • Ro Ker

    Thanks for writing this post!
    My dad is a TCK and I’m a TCK myself, in a relationship with someone from a different country. We’re not married yet, but I’ve just realized that our family will be multicultural one day, and that our children will be TCKs themselves.
    What you wrote here is and will be useful and a blessing for my experience. Thanks!

  • Lainey Stevens

    Thanks for Sharing Marilyn! I also grew up in Pakistan with my 4 siblings, and my family moved back “home” to New Hampshire 8 years ago. I went through a hard transition but looking back I wouldn’t change anything. I still have a heart for that area of the world. If you’re ever in the area and want to swap some stories, I’m sure my family would love to have you over for dinner or a “chai break”. Sounds like we have a couple things in common!

    • Marilyn Gardner

      Lainey – I would love to connect with you and find out more about your time in Pakistan, where you went to school, what it’s been like for you coming back and more. Thank you for coming by!

      • Marilyn’s Mom

        Marilyn & Lainey, you met at Eight-Acre Woods when you, Lainey were a baby or a toddler. Marilyn, you were visiting from Egypt, or maybe you had moved back. I’m hazy on the date. Lainey’s parents are Carrol and Susie Stevens, and they were on their way to Pakistan with SIL. They are living now near Dover NH. I hope you two get together soon! Hugs from me to both of you

  • Thank you for this list. I’m raising 4 TCKs, all of whom were born after my husband and I were already living overseas. I especially appreciate your advice about creating a sense of “place” and nurturing fun. My husband’s parents moved to the mission field with 8 kids, and they created a strong sense of home through their loving family ties. To this day, though they are serving God all over the world, the whole family maintains close contact with each other, and the greatest sense of homecoming is whenever several of us can gather–no matter what country is hosting the reunion!

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