My little girl, due in December 2012, is going to be a Third Culture Kid (TCK).

She will have traveled around the world before she’s 2.
She will speak English, Tagalog and Mandarin before she’s 6 years old.
She will be uniquely able to communicate between cultures at age 10.
She will have the tools to inspire nations as a young adult.
She will one day change the world.

She’s going to experience life through the changing lenses of cultures. It will be difficult at times, but I will always be there for her. We will complain and cry together about the injustices of the world, and how we are foreign everywhere we go.

I’m sad that she will struggle with fitting in, and trying to figure out where she belongs. If the transition between cultures is difficult for me as an adult, I can only imagine the strain it takes on a child.

But I am happy that she will see a world that is so much bigger than we often realize.

“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is known as someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture.”
(source: state.gov)

I have seen this first hand for years. Most of the missionary kids I “grew up” with in China over the last decade and a half are well on their way to becoming my heroes. I consider them my brothers and sisters, and I am so proud to watch them use their many skills and abilities learned from living in a culture not their own.

(Did you realize that President Barack Obama and a number of his cabinet members were TCKs?)

“Where are you from, little girl?”

That question might be hard for my daughter to answer. Though she’ll be able to reply in multiple languages, she might grow tired of responding with a long explanation rather than just naming a country of origin.

But it’ll be okay. I’ll put my arm around her, smile and say, “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, sweetheart. What matters is where you belong, and that’s right here with me.”

I’ll hug her tight and say, “C’mon, let’s go change the world!”

Watching this video makes me sad and excited.

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  1. Elias Popa

     /  08/24/2012

    This is a great post. Although I am sure it will be hard, as I am a TCK as well. Romanian American spending never more than 5 years in one place. But she has the unique position in life to be totally life changing for the world around her. Praying for the bundle of Joy and for you and Lorna. I can’t wait to see her.

    • Thanks! yea, TCK’s are awesome. Uniquely able to impact the world in a major way. Thanks!

    • Hey David, love the blog…The video encountered an error and will not load. I’ll have to try again later. Can’t wait to see who God sends your way in the shape of a little girl! haha

  2. It’s working now! Thanks!

    • The video is so enlightening. We think we know so much. We really know soooooo little.

  3. That video is so telling isn’t it. Growing up my adult years in China, from 18 to present, has changed me completely. I am foreign. It defines me. My little girl will feel it even more, but I’m excited to walk this path with her.

  4. Great post. I found your blog through http://twitter.com/drieculturen and I really enjoyed this post.
    I can definitely understand what your daughter will go through as I’ve been a TCK my whole life, and these past years I’ve been adjusting as an adult TCK, which is sometimes even more challenging than the years I spent growing up all over the world. When you’re suddenly not in a TCK environment anymore (i.e. International schools, etc), you realize just how different your life was compared to first culture kids. But I’ve always said that all the good from being a TCK far, far outweighs the bad, so no matter how tough it can get, it’s absolutely worth it. Good luck to your daughter, but she already seems to have all the support she needs for the TCK life with you as her father!


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