I’m not going to be shy.
You should read this if you are a third culture kid, missionary kid, parent of those, or just a missionary that is planning to have kids in another country one day.
It’s going to change your perspective on your life, just like it did for me writing it.
What did I write?
Floating Among Borders: The Effects of Internet Communications Technology on “Third Culture Kids”
And I’ve finally made it readable on my website. So you can check out the link below. 🙂
It started with what seemed like an impossible assignment…
When your high school teacher assigns you a 20-page research paper to complete by the end of the year, you can tell you’re going to have an adventure. Or as Mr. Herrmann put it, a “crystalizing experience”. Though me and my classmates laughed at that when we first saw it on the syllabus, by the end it was true.
(Tip for writing research papers, all you students: if you can choose the topic, choose something you are fascinated with. It makes those ridiculously long hours go by a whole lot faster.)
In my case, I chose to write about TCKs. Well, I’m not necessarily fascinated by myself, but more like how being a third culture kid affects someone’s whole life. What is a TCK exactly? Quite simply, it is someone whose parents grew up in one culture, and you live in another, creating a whole new “third culture” of your own. Hence, the term TCK coined by Dr. Ruth Hill Useem in the 1950’s. And when Jesus said, “Go into all the world”, of course there’s going to be a lot of TCKs.
I first read The Third Culture Kid Experience: Growing up Among Worlds (1999) by David C. Pollock in my junior year. Ever since then I’ve thought a lot about the way it affects me. You’ve probably seen my writings about being an missionary kid. So for my research paper, I thought I’d go deeper. I started reading articles and research- and found a lot of negative characteristics that come out of this lifestyle. Most of it was because of the separation from family and friends. What I noticed is that most of the research was done in the 90’s. BEFORE Skype video chats and Facebook friendships. Technology like this had to make a difference, and relationships are vital part of life. So I decided to interview real TCK teens through Facebook, asking questions about how technology like Email, Facebook, and Skype has affected their relationships across the globe.
. . . And It Ended with Revelation from God.
Writing this paper was emotionally taxing for me. Well, of course stress, being overwhelmed by the assignment and my procrastination. But no, I’m talking about realizing everything was so true. It was like I pulled out a book that was written about my life. I had signs of unresolved grief and delayed adolescence, not all, but a lot. I would have been overwhelmed, if it weren’t for God. I had to work through it with Him. He gave me the heart conviction that GOD IS MY CONSTANT. He is the one that is steady when I am floating among borders, he is the one that is with me when I don’t know where I belong. Because wherever I am, I belong with him. I have peace.
And so, after that revelation, I wasn’t just writing for me.
I was writing for you.
I was writing so you could understand just like I did.
And Jesus reminded me of this momentous fact.
He was a TCK.
He was born in Bethelehem. Then he lived for Egypt for a few years, probably learned some of his first words there. Then he grew up in Nazareth. Then, during ministry, he traveled basically everywhere around Israel. Not to mention Israel was then occupied by Rome, with Roman culture permeating the Jewish traditions.
And most importantly, he was from Heaven. His most constant influence was his Father who lived there.
Therefore, when you’re reading this, don’t think God cannot empathize.
Recognize your losses,
recognize your gains,
and recognize that Jesus walked on this earth
. . .just like us.
What a remarkable God.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, for the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work in you, so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4
I really hope some of this can give you some insight about your life, and encourage you to persevere. You guys are troopers. The end.