Often, I write about specific incidents that I’ve experienced in our overseas “adventure.” Sometimes, I write about broader, more topical subjects. But, mostly, I just whine about petty personal inconveniences as though they are on equal standing with the Kennedy assassination.
As this is a family blog though, I thought I’d take a moment to take the focus off ME, and MY thoughts, and MY perspective, and instead shine our metaphorical spotlight on our three boys. Because they are an important part of our lives. And because we cherish them. And because Rochelle told me to.
To start off, our boys are what are known as “Third Culture Kids” (TCKs). This is a fairly unique classification of humanity. It goes something like this:
- First culture kid: Me. I was born and raised in America. Even if I were to change my citizenship, my cultural identity would always be rooted in my American heritage. This classification would encompass all nationals, as well as all first-generation immigrants.
- Second culture kid: The child of a first culture person, who is being raised in the culture that their parent has moved into. This person is acutely aware of their cultural heritage (due to their home-life being so heavily influenced by the culture of their parents), but they have adopted their host culture as their own. These would be second-generation immigrants, and the like.
- Third culture kid: This is a child who is raised in a context where their identity is neither fixed to their parents’ home culture OR to their host culture (often due to a transient lifestyle). They are not at home in their parents’ culture, but neither are they assimilated into the culture they grew up in. This classification would encompass many military kids whose parents served overseas, diplomats’ children, and definitely most missionary kids.
Our boys are not “American” (culturally), and they are not “Iski.” Wherever they go, they are something else – an exceptional class of people who are perpetual outsiders to each culture they have been exposed to. If life was a track and field event, they would be the water boys: engaged & involved in the activities, but unaffiliated with any of the specific sports.
To put it bluntly, they are weirdos.
But that’s OK, because all of their TCK friends are weirdos too. And, though they may all be misfits in many contexts, they have also been endowed with a very special perspective on life that will allow them to more clearly assess cultural nuances that most of us are blind to.
With that little monologue behind us, let me introduce you to…
Manny has been a go-getter from birth. When he was able to sit, he wanted to be crawling. When he could crawl, he wanted to be walking. And when he could walk, he wanted to run! And his passionate embrace of “more” has continued on ever since!
He’s a tough kid and a hard worker. He can climb trees like a monkey, run forever, and his hand-eye coordination is amazing! He’s passionate about things being fair (though this is often a relative concept), and he is inquisitive about life.
Tucker (Tuck, Tuck-man)
Tucker is pretty much Manny in reverse. He is possibly the most content kid on the planet. He likes to sit and play quietly, read and color, and watch things happen around him. He has an amazingly quick wit and often has the whole family laughing with his clever jokes.
He is definitely the most sensitive of our crew, and the most likely to spontaneously give a kiss and a hug and say something heart-melting like, “I sure am glad that you’re my Dad.” His imagination is always on, and he is often the one responsible for developing the plot for the boys’ make-believe games.
Griffin (Griff, Grifty, Grifty-wifty-woo)
Griffin is 100% boy, with an extra 30% rough-and-tumble. Though he’s 2 ½ years younger than Tucker, there’s only about 5 pounds between them! He loves to run, wrestle, and do “muscle work.” He also loves to ask questions and tell stories.
His favorite activity is whatever his brothers are doing, and it’s amazing how well he keeps up with them! Though all of our boys get dirty when they play outside, this kid takes the cake. When we call them in for bath time, he’ll often be literally covered from head to toe with dirt (and usually non-chalantly sporting a new scratch or bruise)!
This is the child that once asked me to change the batteries on his dying “pet” cockroach. And also, last week, he bit into an almost fully developed gecko egg because he thought it was a piece of candy.
Our boys are living an odd existence, but they are living it to the fullest! We are so proud of the way they are able to embrace the challenges that our lifestyle brings with it and make the most of what they have.
They may be little weirdos because of their upbringing, but they’re our little weirdos. And I have no doubt that they will be a blessing to society when they eventually enter into it as young men.
Though they might be barefoot when they do…