Thursday, July 3, 2014

Raising Third Culture Kids

"I'm pretty sure that only a TCK (third culture kid) would ask if their parent was giving them dirty water to drink. It was white grape juice."

This was a Facebook status from a friend who served as a missionary in an African country. It's absolutely hilarious...and completely believable. And it inspired this blog.

What is a TCK?

Third culture kids are kids who are raised in a culture that is not the same as their parents' culture. They don't really fit in the parents' culture because they have been raised apart from it. A problem exists because:
  • They don't really fit in the culture where they're raised because it's not their own
  • They in many ways are being raised separate from many of the customs and traditions
Thus it's like they have a culture all their own...a third culture. The International Society of Missionary Kids (ISMK) uses a green chameleon in the middle of a half blue/half yellow flag to give image to this thought.

4th of July

The reason this is appropriate to discuss is because we are preparing to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, the United States of America's Independence Day, in another country. A country my daughter references and has some memories of but really doesn't know. A country my son does not know at all.

Thankfully, there will be a picnic tomorrow to celebrate the day. It will include Nathan's hot dogs and cotton candy and games for the kids and other 4th-y things. We will be going, and giving Genevieve the biggest dose of American culture she's had since January and Jonah his first experience.

How I know my daughter is a TCK

I thought it would be nice to share a few personal examples:
  1. I told Genevieve about the special picnic we're going to tomorrow. I told her there would be a lot other people from the States there and that everyone will be speaking English. Her reaction:
    • She thinks it's silly that everyone will be speaking English
    • She informed me that she is in fact "Costa Rican"
  2. We stayed in a hotel in Panama this past weekend. After using the potty I informed her that she could throw the toilet paper in the toilet instead of the trash. She was confused by this and wondering why. Instead of explaining that this is normal in the States, I just told her that it was a special hotel with a special toilet. We'll cross the bridge of re-training her once we return to the States.
  3. She thinks that a plastic Rubbermaid container is a legitimate alternative to a bathtub.
  4. Genevieve corrects us when we pronounce some English words which are the same in Spanish without a Spanish accent.
The reality is that she is already learning a lot of things as her normal which are different from Polly's and my normal. In the end, this will make her a more well-rounded individual. In the interim, it will undoubtedly provide more fun, funny stories.