Last month I had a guest post on China Source called Two key lessons from a TCK childhood. We all learn lessons about how the world works based on our childhood experiences. Therefore, the international experiences of a TCK shape how these young people see the world.
“The experiences we have shape our understanding of life and people. Each culture teaches us answers to certain questions, which together form a worldview. How do I show respect to others? How do I show gratitude? How do I express politeness? How do I express love? What does success look like? What are the most important things in life? The answers to these questions, and more, are supplied by the families and communities we grow up among.
TCKs grow up with different answers coming from different cultural influences. Sometimes these answers contradict one another! An action considered polite in one environment could be considered very rude in another. TCKs tend to understand intuitively that there is more than one way to see a situation—more than one answer to each question. The foundational worldview TCKs construct, therefore, is strongly influenced by the experience of living in between cultures.”
That experience of living between cultures is formative for TCKs. It shapes their understanding and expectations of life.
In this post I share two of the most common things TCKs expressed in my interviews for Misunderstood: everyone leaves, and no one understands. These are lessons ‘learned’ by the childhood experiences of life in-between.
I am going to be writing a bit more about these two ‘lessons’ in the next couple of weeks, unpacking a bit more of what I summarised in the China Source post. So stay tuned for that!
Update: I did indeed do some deeper dives into this topic – a series of four posts. Click here to read a summary of the series.