Are Missionaries Kids Missionaries?
You live in a new place, so are you a new family? Or are you moving in that direction? As we endeavor to faithfully live out the ministry calling that God has placed on us, what role does our family life play? And specifically how does our parenting connect or not connect to our calling? There may be some cultural values and assumptions purposely or unintentionally placed on TCKs. Those expectations can be thrust upon children by the host country. But other conflicting standards may also come from the passport country in the form of grandparents, the sending church, the missions agency, college recruiters, and a multitude of “friends” on social media. And the parents, with their own standards, hopes, and dreams stand in the middle directing traffic.
Added to this complexity is the reality that the parents are making their own efforts to live in and adapt to the new culture and will often experience the changes at a different pace, faster or slower, than their children.
Are you using some of your cross-cultural study skills to watch and learn from what is going on with your own children? How are they formulating their own “third” culture where they can thrive and be pleasing to all the various players active in their lives?
Read the Christianity Today article “Are Missionary Kids Missionaries?” As you read, you may want to jot down some notes on concepts or examples of particular interest to you. This will help contribute to a discussion we’ll have in an upcoming forum.
A key question and a key statement from the article are:
- “What is the role of the family in kingdom ministry?”
- “Not despite but in the struggles of family life, many missionaries developed a more nuanced form of authentic ministry—living out the gospel in the context of their own family’s needs, brokenness, difficulties, and limits.”