Third Culture Kids
My husband is a Third Culture Kid (TCK)…. I am not… I’m a Santa Barbara kid! Yet we are raising TCK’s. And what exactly is a TCK? Well, I’m glad you asked… By definition the Third Culture Kid “is a person who has spent a significant part of their 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.” (Ruth Hill Useem)
I’ve been reading the book, “Third Culture Kids: The experience of growing up among worlds”. It’s an informative and insightful book for any of you out there in similar circumstances. Our kids are still young, ages 5, 3, and 20 months and so for me, it’s a preparatory read though there has definitely been some “ah-hah” moments of truth about my husband, an American, who was born and raised in Madagascar.
One reality for TCK’s is the revolving door of relationships with friends. Friends come and go, quite literally. For example, we have some South African friends who live in the capital city. They have a little girl the same age as our daughters and when they have the opportunity to play together, they have a blast! In fact, this little girl is their only English-speaking friend and she’s a 10-hour drive away. However, this wonderful family is getting ready to move to Mozambique and just last week, we had to say good-bye to them. On the flip side of the coin, in three weeks we leave Madagascar for a several months and our kids will be the ones leaving their Malagasy friends. At the same time, they’ll be reentering into past friendships in America that have undoubtedly changed in the 15 months that we’ve been away. This will be a unique journey that we walk with our kids upon, one that will undoubtedly require patience, grace and lots of prayer.