Parents – this material will help you prepare yourselves and your children for moving to a different culture. You will need to work through much of the material yourselves and then explain to your children at an appropriate level, using the guidelines for discussion. Material comes primarily from Raising Up a Generation of Healthy Third Culture Kids by Lauren Wells with additional resources from Member Care Media. Older children may enjoy listening to the Member Care Media audio clips themselves and then discussing as a family.
Recommendations for Reading the book
Both parents should read the book, talk about the content together and agree on steps to be taken. This will help ensure you are both on the same page with some very important issues.
Keep a journal as you read this book. This will not only help you process the information, but some chapters are more “future” related and having notes to refer back to can be a huge help in the months and years ahead.
At the end of each chapter in the book, Lauren has included some questions to think through. You are encouraged you to work through these questions together as parents. We have included some key questions below to process with your facilitator/mentor. Most of the questions are taken from the book, either directly (noted with an *) or reworded, but we have added a couple of our own. Write down things that impact you and questions that come up that you can discuss with your facilitator/mentor.
As mentioned, some of these topics are future related. They might not seem relevant to you now, but they will be. We suggest that you keep the book and your notes and revisit them after you have been on the field for 6 months to a year and then again before any key moves such as home assignments, changes in schools, changes in ministry location, etc.
Chapters 1 to 3 – TCKs, Building a Firm Foundation
Chapter 1 – Understanding the Need for Preventive Care
– What does the acronym CARE stand for?
– In light of this, how do you anticipate this book will be most helpful to you?
Audio links from Member Care Media:
Who is a Third Culture Kid? Jo Clifford
TCK: Deprived or Privileged? Jo Clifford
Family in Ministry (2 of 5) Annemie Grosshauser
Preparing Missionary Couples for Cultural Stress Sue Eenigenburg (document download). This excellent article is also included on the Helpful Articles page under the Resources section of Equip. Please make sure you work though the “25 questions and ideas for married couples to discuss before moving overseas.”
This is a good time to consider a marriage seminar or counseling, as well as a parenting course or reading a book on parenting. Keep your toolbox as full as possible!
Chapter 4 to 7 – Transition: Making Moves, Preparing to Go
Chapter 4 – Learning How to Leave Well
– What does the acronym RAFT stand for?
– What steps can you make to ensure that you accomplish RAFT for yourself and for each of your children?
– What are some family routines that you have or can develop now, that you can keep throughout the transition process, and in your new location?
– What are some specific things that you can do to keep up relationships with grandparents, other family members and significant friends?
– What are some new routines that you can develop that might be helpful to do throughout the transition process and in your new location?
Chapter 5 – Resolving Unresolved Grief
– What are some of the key differences between a pre-griever and a post-griever?
– In what ways do each of your children process grief?
– How do you personally recognize and process grief?
– How can you implement some of the skills in this chapter during your family check-ins?*
Chapter 6 – Understanding Trauma
– What trauma have you experienced in your life that you have not had a chance to process properly? What will you do to make sure this is dealt with before you leave for the mission field?
– What trauma have your children experienced a trauma that they still need to process properly? What are some steps that can be taken to help them process this?
– What was the most difficult thing in this chapter to read and think about?*
Note: If you feel you or your child needs help processing this please contact your facilitator/mentor or the TCK Consultant for AIM (email@example.com) and we will connect you to someone who can help.
Chapter 7 – Anchoring the TCK’s Identity
– What are the key elements that make up a TCK identity?
– How will you create a strong family identity that does not change regardless of where you are?
– What aspects of your family identity can be an encouragement to your children’s identity in Christ?
– What are your expectations of your TCK in the area of patriotic identity? Is there any shifting in your thinking that needs to be done?* If so, what are some steps that you can take to help in that process?
Chapter 8 to 9 – Building Bridges, Entering Well, and Educational Options
Chapter 8 – Engaging in the Culture
(These will be realities once you are on the field, but it is good to address these issues before leaving)
– How do you talk about the culture and the local people where you are? What messages does that communicate to your TCKs?*
– What steps can you take to increase your family’s culture learning and language learning?*
– Other than Lauren’s reasons, what is unhealthy about keeping your children apart from the culture they will be living in?
– In light of these ideas for moving into a new culture, reflect on how you view and talk about your own culture. . Are there any surprises there? If so, how might that help you as you talk in your family about your new culture and language learning?
Chapter 9 – Fostering Healthy Relationships
– What patterns have you noticed in your children’s relationships?
– What do your own relationships look like? What do they model for your children?*
– In what ways will you help your children benefit from social media without allowing it to limit their development of real meaningful relationships?
Providing a good education for your child is one of the keys to equipping them for their future. AIM does not want to see any of our children unprepared for their next step due to gaps in primary and secondary educational options.Have you made contact with your TCK Consultant about education? Start on a plan specific to your family and location. Have you talked these things through with your child? Assure them you have plans for them and gather as much information about their proposed schooling as you can.
Each family is required to have an Educational Plan for each child that will be school-aged during each term of service. It should be submitted to your Mobilizing Office Educational Consultant at least two months before departing for the field for final clearance. Your consultants are there to help you. Please discuss any educational concerns with them. If you are unsure who to contact you can contact the International Office TCK Consultant (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
Possible educational options are homeschooling, some sort of homeschool cooperative, national schools, schools using a language other than the child’s mother tongue, secular International schools and schools specifically for the children of missionaries. Your TCK Consultant can help you think through these options.
Consider getting training for educating your children overseas.
– In North America Interaction holds an Educational Planning Seminar. Check here for up-to-date information.
– PACE offers a training course for families schooling overseas. Contact your Educational Consultant for more information regarding this.
– Contact your mobilizing region to see if there are trainings in your part of the world.
Chapter 10 to 13 – Minimizing the Negatives and Maximizing the Positives
Chapter 10 – Wrestling with Restlessness
– How do you manage change in your own life?
– What are some ways in which you can teach your children to manage change in a healthy way?
Chapter 11 – Recognizing TCK Shame
– What can you do to help your children to discover and be comfortable with who God made them to be?
– What stood out for you in the discussion of shame, masks and chameleons? How can you help your kids “take off their masks” without feeling shame?
– Is “shame” in your family’s vocabulary? Consider how you might have a conversation about it with your TCKs. *
Chapter 12 – Managing Subconscious Expectations
– What are your expectations for their personal success and achievement? Are they influenced by your position/job as an expat? Does it allow them space to fail?*
– What are your children’s expectations of themselves? What have they shared with you? If not, how can you start a dialogue with your kids about their expectations?
Chapter 13 – Maximizing the Benefits of the TCK’s Life
– What encourages you the most from the list of benefits of being a TCK?
– What can you do to help make sure these become benefits and not negatives in your children’s lives?