Josh and I recently bought Lonely Planet's book Travel with Children. While reading the chapter about long term travel and living abroad, I came across a section about Third Culture Kids (TCK), or kids who spend "a significant amount of time in a culture other than that of their parents." In addition to the "works cited" section of this book, a simple Google search shows that there seems to be more and more research about and resources for TCKs. One finding of this research that the book's author highlighted was that Third Culture Kids "make roots more in people than in place." Something about this statement struck me as important and familiar and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It sounds a lot like how we are called to live as Xtians – investing in people not places and in relationships not possessions. It's probably very obvious, but it took me a while to "get it." As Xtians, we are ALL Third Culture Kids. We spend a significant amount of time in a culture other than that of our Hvnly Father. The scrptrs remind us that we are "aliens and strangers in the world." (1 Ptr 2:11) and He himself tells us that his "Kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36). Maybe if I was living more with the mindset of TCK, it would be evidenced in my life by where I identify my roots and invest my resources. The problem is that I frequently forget that I am not of this world. Addresses & mortgages, schedules & routines, things that seem so permanent, all become priority while I have neighbors I've never met and friends who need help in bearing their burdens. How many times are we told to "love one another"? How many times do I have to be told? It's funny how a Lonely Planet guide book can be so convicting.
One of the huge blessings we've enjoyed after moving here has been the opportunity and ability to travel. We are seeing places and experiencing cultures that seemed like outrageous, unattainable dreams just a couple of years ago. Before we were able to travel, it was very easy to see the differences between our culture and others. Now with each trip, the world seems to get smaller and it's a lot easier to see the similarities. Here is a picture of our TCK on our recent trip in July. We were in Estonia when Harper noticed, across a giant square, this woman from Kuwait who was wearing an abaya. We thought it was funny how disinterested Harper seemed in all the people around us who "looked like her", but she was immediately drawn to this woman who was both covered and speaking Arabic. We also thought it was funny how we both felt an almost immediate kinship with this woman and her family because we all lived in the same general location. Maybe it's not all that unique, but it felt pretty special to be an American family connected to a Kuwaiti family during a brief stay in Estonia. I think it was just a snapshot of making roots in people and not in places.