TCK’s- Feeling Different Inside

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 10 minutes

Are you past the fun and now into the challenges of parenting third culture children? Understanding the life of a Third Culture Kid can be difficult.  This video is one element from the Grow2Serve online course Parenting Third Culture Kids. This course is for parents who have lived and ministered in a culture new and unfamiliar and who are committed to fully placing themselves into God’s hands for the sake of effective cross-cultural Gospel ministry. If you are currently engaged in cross-cultural ministry and are committed to living and serving well as a family in your context, this would be a good course for you.

Parenting Third Culture Kids will afford you the opportunity to explore some interesting information regarding the development of your parenting knowledge, perspectives, and skills while living and serving cross-culturally. But, more importantly, it also will connect you with fellow learners who are in a similar life stage.

For more information about the PTCK course and to register, visit here:

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Partner: Grow2Serve

Resource Description

Feeling Different Inside

This young man grew up in Asia (ages 4-18) in a family that gave him some really strong support and healthy perspectives.

But when he returned to the United States for college, some of the help he was given wasn’t so helpful – “you’re so different and it is going to take a really long time for you to integrate.

On the outside he looked the same as everyone else at college, but was really different inside.  An early response was to make some external changes to force others to see him as different.  But over time he found another resolution:

You’re not special because you’re unusual.  You’re special because you are God’s child!

In a sense, the lesson to be learned is, you should not have the goal of integration, but rather have the goal being yourself, who you really are, in a healthy way.


As we move into this next section, ask God to open your eyes to ways that you can help your child or children find their anchor point, their identity, in being a child of God.

If you have difficulty loading the video above you can read the transcript below: 


You got to hear a story from Julie about the Morgenstern family culture. And so I don’t want to be outdone so, I get my chance to share a short story with you. It ties in pretty well with our belief that God is really active in working in us and providing things for us to share with you and bless you with.
Really just a couple of weeks ago, we were at some friends house and talking with an adult third culture kid and having him share some of his experiences with us. One of the things that really came out of this story, as I talked to this young man, was him sharing about some of the experiences he had when he came back and he was getting ready to go to college. His parents encouraged him to go to some workshops and such and they talked about his role of being a third culture kid. At first he said it really was helpful because he found this community of a bunch of people that had a shared experience with him. And they gave him some things to tie to, to think in terms of some of the feelings that he was experiencing and some of the experiences as trying to integrate into the American culture. What they were doing for him was really kind of tying his insecurities into a security of an anchor of, “well there’s an explanation for this and it’s that you’re a third culture kid.” And he said for him it worked for a while.
The interesting thing for him was he came back to America and on the outside he looked like everybody else and yet he was constantly misunderstood. He came to a point where he’s like, I want people to know I’m different, and he got a Mohawk and he got piercings and tattoos all over because, he wanted people to see, “I’m not like everybody else.” He wanted what it is outside to match his inside.
He said that over time, he kind of fell into a despair in some of the things told to him about the third culture kid identity. Things like “you know I’m always going to be this, it’s never going to change, I’m never going to be able to really be American” and things like that. Over time what God did in his life was pull him to a whole other place where he said, “You know the way for me to walk the path that God has for me is not for me to have an anchor in my identity as a third culture kid, and have that provide my stability for me. My need is for my anchor to be in who I am in Christ.” He said, “You know there are so many people around me and they’ve got stuff in their life — they’ve got issues going on with them too. I’m not special because I’m different.” He started to find out that there are people around that are different all over the place and in fact everyone he was meeting was different in some way. So our identity and being special is not because we’re different, but our identity and being special and having an anchor and having a stability, is that we are God’s. We belong to Him. We’re His children. That gave him an anchor in a position that he could go forward with then into his adulthood and into his mature life as a follower of Jesus.


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