Thoughts on “Third Culture Kids”

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I was able to finally finish this book that covered the whole topic of children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCK). The authors David Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken define TCKs as, “A TCK is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”

In many of my global travels, I have had the privilege of meeting people who fall under this definition. They are people who have a unique background that allow them to move in and out of various cultures. In fact, TCK can be categorized as “transcultural.” They, in a sense “transcend” one particular culture and are able to interact with multiple cultures, which is very difficult for most people to do.

They are also transient, in the sense that they are not locked into one particular culture over another. They move freely from one culture to another, which allows them to adapt quickly to fit into the culture at that particular place and time.

On the flip side, TCK struggle with their identity as they have a hard time finding one culture that they can identify with. This causes them to feel as if they are “different.” But I believe that God is going to redeem the struggles of a TCK and use them as connectors – connecting people and cultures to others.

When you look at the Bible you notice that there were many transcultural people – Joseph, Moses, Esther, Daniel, and Paul to just name a few. God used their backgrounds and experiences for His greater purpose.

With globalization affecting different parts of the world, we have truly become a “global village.” People from different cultures are interacting with people who are from another culture. It is fascinating to see the interactions.

The vision of the Gospel reaching “all peoples” is becoming more of a reality as we see God raising up TCKs who are willing to go to the nations. It is my prayer that God will raise up more “transcultural” people in our church.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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