Monday, April 12, 2010

TCK (Part I)

I think parents occasionally pause to reflect about how the life they have chosen or feel called to live (working vs. stay-at-home, urban vs. rural, public school vs. private) is affecting their children. Coming this Fall Amelia will have spent nearly one-third of her life and Meredith over one-half of her life in Kenya. How is this affecting them? What are the benefits and challenges? How to they see their Passport Country and their Host Culture? How will they deal with past and upcoming transitions? How do they answer the seemingly simple question; Where are you from? (Northwest US, Akron, Kijabe, Tenwek?) Maybe I am way over-thinking how a couple years in Africa and possibly longer might affect my 6 and 3 year-old daughters. It was a due to a recommendation of a book by authors Pollock and Van Recken in which I found that Amelia and Meredith have a name; they are called Third Culture Kids (TCK).

Third Culture Kids are defined as, "a children who have spent a significant part (more than a few weeks) of their developing years (between ages 0-18) outside their parents' culture. TCK’s build relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any (they can belong everywhere and nowhere at the same time)."

Maybe you are a TCK as well.

You may ask why it is referred to as a THIRD culture? Amelia and Meredith are growing up in Kenya. Isn't that just a second culture? Not exactly. America is their first culture. Kenya would be their second culture. The Kijabe Mission Compound including their school at RVA would be considered their “Third Culture.” Kijabe certainly isn’t America, but it’s not typical Kenya either. Like a child who grows up on a foreign military base, business enclave, or for Amelia and Meredith a missionary compound, each place has its own distinct style, vocabulary, and pattern of life that is different from their home or host culture.

1 comment:

Family said...

Very thoughtful. It is always good to take moments out and reflect.