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What To Do With 15 Things I Want to Tell My TCKs, Follow-up and Links

I never expected the post 15 Things I Want to Tell My Third Culture Kids to explode like it did. I almost didn’t publish it.

So many emails and tweets and comments and Facebook conversations about how it encouraged you and you know what? All those tear-stained words have created something powerful. There is now, in the comment stream and in my inbox, an almost unbelievable testimony to the challenges and the joys of being or loving a TCK.

Thanks to this post, I (we) now have over 170 comments and dozens of emails that remind me I am not alone. That remind me of how incredible TCKs, and the people who love them, are. These comments are priceless. I have already returned to them, to draw encouragement and to gain perspective, and I expect I will continue to read them over the years.


As a follow-up to the post that blew up this blog, here are some ideas for what you can do with 15 Things. Many of these are ideas you sparked.

  1. Read the list out loud to your TCKs.
  2. Write your own, specific to your kids and read that one.
  3. If you aren’t a wordy-person, make a list in photos and frame it or put it in a Shutterfly book.
  4. Give the list to whomever it is that you want to understand you better: spouses, roommates, teachers, a support group, friends.
  5. If you are a TCK, write a list for your parents.
  6. Use it as a prayer list for the TCKs you know and love.
  7. Use it as a conversation-starter, to move things beyond the surface to deep waters.
  8. Share it with fellow TCKs or fellow parents and talk about your experiences, your fears, your joys.
  9. Use it to launch a 15-things styled list for a different category of person. Perhaps your homeschooled kids or your refugee friends. Something to bless and encourage and demonstrate with-ness, togetherness.
  10. Keep writing to me or on your own about your stories, I’m still working on this too and have so much to learn from your wisdom.

Thank you for sharing your hearts and your tears and your laughter, for saying that it isn’t easy and for saying that you wouldn’t change it, for holding your experiences and your children with tender faith, and for encouraging me and other readers. On the “I don’t think I’ll survive this” days and the “We must be crazy” days, I will remember your words.

Here are some links people have shared (disclaimer: a link does not mean endorsement of entire sites):

Life as a TCK, 20 Years Later

What I Wish My Mother Had Told Her Homeschool Kids

15 Things I Want to Tell My Third Culture Parents

Homeschooling and the Parent/Child Socialization Divide

A YouTube video about being a TCK in rural what-was-then Zaire (in French with English subtitles)

The Things I Want to Tell My Kids

If the article inspired you to write something and I haven’t posted it here but you’d like to share it, would you mind posting the links in the comments so others can find them?

6 Third Culture Kid Links

Last week’s post 15 Things I Want to Tell My Third Culture Kids brought a tidal wave of traffic to Djibouti Jones, and a tidal wave of emotion. Thank you for sharing your hearts and for coming alongside mine. Speaking of TCKs, all three of mine will be in our house by lunchtime today (assuming Kenya Airways continues to out-do Daallo airlines when it comes to timeliness), sitting at the table, scraping their filthy feet against my shins while I try to squirm out of reach.

So in honor of boarding school kids returning home and to give you some weekend reading material, here are some rich TCK resources.

Celebrating Third Culture Kids

Celebrating Third Culture Kids

1. Denizen, a site for Third Culture Kids and chock full of articles, stories, ways to connect, advice… Here is what they say: “Denizen is an online magazine dedicated to today’s Third Culture KidsIt represents the modern global nomad community, complete with attitude, expression and creativity.”

2. Third Culture Kids, the experience of growing up among worlds This book by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken is a must for parents raising TCKs. Even for grandparents or close friends who want to offer support and understanding. I refer to it often, sometimes simply to wrap myself up in the words of wisdom.

3. TCK World “The Official Home of Dr. Ruth Hill Useem, who first coined the term “Third Culture Kids.”

4. So Where’s Home? A 9-minute video. I’ve watched this a number of times.

5. Sheryl O’Bryan I confess that I have not had time to peruse Sheryl’s website, I just encountered her blog via a comment she left on the 15 Things post. I loved the way she said, “TCKs are my people group” and so now I plan to spend some time myself looking at what she provides on the site. I’ll also send you over, to see what you can see.

This is what she says: “I used to live in Africa but now I live in Colorado and travel the world taking care of anything and everything that has to do with Third Culture Kids!”

6. Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves. This song makes me cry almost every time I hear it and my oldest daughter has latched on to it as well. When I first heard it, I thought Groves was a TCK, she captured things so well. Turns out she isn’t, she is from Minnesota (!) but it is still a beautiful song. I love a lot of her songs, most of them recommended by my creative, talented, and deep cousin-in-law of Pieh’s Preserves. From Alaska to Djibouti, we couldn’t live further opposite lives but our hearts are knit ever closer and I think that encapsulates so much of the TCK life.

This is how we get cold in Djibouti. I think it might be different in Alaska.

This is how we get cold in Djibouti. I think it might be different in Alaska.

What are other resources, blogs, beautiful writing, videos, books, poems, art…do you turn to regarding Third Culture Kids?

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