I am still in the middle of raising my two TCKs. I have one who likes to refer to herself as “an egg”-white on the outside and yellow on the inside. She loves all things Chinese-teas with bubbles, teas with passionfruit, eggs cooked in tea, and so many other things. She has three flags in her room-Taiwan (her birthplace), China (home for several years), and a flag for the Taiwan independence party. It is the most paradoxical set of flags you will ever find put together. And it kind of describes her-fiercely loyal to her birth country which has become her home again. And still a little loyal to China because it is the home of her childhood memories. She has her share of challenges here. She is the only caucasian in her class and has struggled with her identity plenty. These middle school years have been tough and I keep wondering when will all those TCK benefits show up?
Then I have her little brother. He doesn’t have any flags in his room because it is too full of Star Wars. But he is fiercely loyal to his birth country (America) and the state of Michigan where he has spent many summers. He loves hamburgers and coke and while he does like our life here in Asia, he never misses a chance to point out where he feels America has distinct advantages. Food usually tops his list. But he also points out various military and “tech” advantages (he is an 11 year old boy after all). He also despises the heat of our sub tropical home and longs for the day he can ride his bike outside without sweat pouring into his eyes. And I wonder-will he benefit from his TCK experience?
Sometimes listening to them talk (OK argue) breaks my heart a little bit. Something that brings one of them joy, brings the other sadness. Something that is enjoyment for one is an irritant for the other. Things that are just experiences for me are foundational childhood memories for them. When these conversations bubble to the surface, I start to calculate how much money I can offer them for the therapy I know they will need later on.
And then I meet articulate, kind, compassionate TCKs in their 20s and 30s and I have hope. Or I read articles like the one below and I tell myself to hold on-the benefits are coming. So if you are in a season like me-waiting for all that resiliency, creativity and flexibility to show up, read this article below from a college bound TCK who is reaping those benefits. If you are enjoying the fruits of your labor with your own older TCKs, please share those stories. You never know who needs to be reminded of the benefits to come.