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Book Review: Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging

In mission circles, a lot of acronyms are thrown around.  Many mission organizations have a full name, but are known by the letters of those names.  Titles of positions get changed to acronyms.  And even our kids are called by an acronym:  MK (missionary kid).  However, there is a more recent term that is replacing MK because it covers more than just missionary kids.  That acronym is TCK or Third Culture Kid.


A Third Culture Kid can be an MK, but can also include military kids who have spent time in another culture, kids whose parents work in business in another culture, or refugees or immigrants who have moved to another culture.  The "third culture" aspect of the term TCK is that these kids (of which I am one) take elements of their passport culture and elements of their host culture and end up with a unique third culture.  They don't fully belong to their passport culture, but neither do they fully belong to their host culture.  They are often most comfortable in airports, between worlds.  

plane with quote

Other TCKs instantly "get them" even if they grew up on the other side of the world.  When they return to their passport country they are often "hidden immigrants" because they may look and even sound like everybody else, but what they experience is closer to what an immigrant experiences.

New York - tck quote

Marilyn Gardner is a TCK and the mother of TCKs.  In her book of essays entitled Between Worlds:  Essays on Culture and Belonging, she talks about many of the things TCKs experience.  The book is well-written and each essay is fairly short, so it's easy to just read one at a time, think about it a bit, and pick up the book again later.

set of books with quote

I've read a lot on the subject of TCKs since I am one and I raised two of them, so there wasn't a lot of new things in the book.  I do think it would be a great book for missions committees and pastors to read so they know how they can help TCKs returning to their "home" country.  It would also make a great graduation gift for TCKs, many of whom will struggle enormously to adjust to that foreign country everybody assumes is home for them.

chair - TCK quote

Marilyn Gardner blogs at Communicating Across Boundaries, which I would encourage you to visit.  If you are a TCK, a parent of a TCK, or a friend of a TCK, you'll find a lot of helpful food for thought on her blog.

From Girl Gone International

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