Did you know there is a “hidden people group” that is growing?
The mission movement has mushroomed over the past 50 years…both U.S. mission workers and recently even more among non-western countries. Although this “hidden” group has been given increasing attention in some areas in the past 25 years, many people are still not aware of the needs of this particular group. Within the number of new mission workers being sent out from countries all over the world, a significant percentage of mission worker families have had to leave their fields much sooner than they expected. The reason is not necessarily health issues or even political instability within their countries. It is very often the needs of their children. Often educational needs that could not be met in their assigned countries but other needs as well. For example, how do Brazilian mission worker families educate their children in the Middle East in a way that will meet Brazilian college requirements? How do those Brazilian TCKs feel?
Did you guess who the “hidden people group” is? …the children of mission workers, called MKs (mission kids) or TCKs (third culture kids).
They are not physically “hidden,” by any means. In fact, many of them would be more comfortable not being so visible. They are “hidden” in the sense that their educational, emotional and sometimes spiritual needs are not always seen, understood or considered by churches, missions, sometimes even by their parents and often not by the kids themselves. Apart from the educational issues, many of the other needs are felt by all mission workers, parents or not, but we aren’t always aware that they affect our children in unique ways.
Issues TCKs face
Here are several key issues that MKs/TCKs face keenly that we could help them with if we were more aware:
- Transition issues
- Identity issues (Where am I “from?” Who Am I? Where is “home?”)
- Ongoing “goodbyes”
- Re-entering the passport culture
- Spiritual authenticity
- Educational needs
… to name the most universal ones. Although these are deep issues about which books have been written, we can take a glance at some of them to help increase our understanding.
Read other articles from Diane:
Diane Morris served with One Challenge as an elementary school teacher and counselor for 28 years at Faith Academy in the Philippines. Then she served OC families (training, caregiving, and traveling to the fields) from the US Mobilization Center in Colorado Springs for 23 years (1991-2014). Now retired, she continues to volunteer at OC.
For more, see Journey with TCKs.