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Introducing The Time/Depth Dilemma: whereas MKs and TCKs generally require to form meaningful connections.
As so many MKs and TCKs are currently beginning educational careers in mono-cultural settings (where social interactions are founded on the host culture’s norms), it might be useful to explore why we do things differently and how we can adapt in order to find true connection with our mono-cultural peers.
The latest edition (March, 2015) of Among World Magazine is devoted to: A Third Culture Kid is someone who has grown up overseas or in a series of locations around the world not necessarily defined by their nationality or place of birth but a child of the world.
Of course, due to their upbringing, Third-culture kids (TCKs) see relationships and dating from lots of different lens/perspectives and while some of those are similar to kids in America, many are unique to those who grow up overseas/in another culture.
Some people obviously took huge offence at the notion that it isn’t necessarily in the best interest of the child to take them away from all that they know and love, into an alien environment where they would have to make new friends and find a new routine. Loss of identity, sense of not belonging anywhere, losing friends, missing family……there were plenty of stories from the other side of the coin to counteract the rainbows and unicorns thrown around by the first group.
To them, their decision to take their offspring abroad was seen as an entirely positive thing. In between of course were plenty of sensible comments made by people who understood that in the end there is no “right” and no “wrong”.
We just got our latest edition (March, 2015) of Among World Magazine and Of course Third-culture kids (TCKs) and Missionary kids (MKs) see dating from lots of different lens/perspectives and while some of those are similar to kids in America, many are unique to kids growing up overseas.
Which just goes to show – no-one really knows the answer.
They would be bringing up global nomads who would navigate their lives with a fantstic grounding in world knowledge, an understanding of different cultures and hopefully an extra language or two. That just like pretty well everything when it comes to parenting (apart from maybe making sure your child doesn’t stand too close to the edge of Niagara falls), it’s all just guesswork.
It is impossible to know exactly what effect your decisions today will have on your children in the future – you can only weigh up all the considerations and they chose one way. Not only that, but every family, every child, every situation, is unique.
It’s a lightning-fast vetting process that serves two important purposes: eliminating the tedious, long-winded “getting to know you” stage and diving headfirst into the kind of meaningful connection that feeds your soul.. Do you see how both relational methods eventually end in friendship? As we enter into a mono-cultural setting that has a well-established progression for making friends, it falls on (†).
It would serve us well to apply all the cross-cultural skills and flexibility we’ve learned in our international lives to this culture too. Though the small talk might feel tedious and the process too drawn-out, you won’t really know how these friends could enrich your life (and you theirs) until you’ve given those relational stages the time to play out.
Of course the opposite is also true: A TCK can be attractive simply because they are often smarter, more traveled and “worldly-wise,” and have more they can discuss.