Parenting Third Culture Kids is a 12 day Grow2Serve online course designed to raise awareness, develop perspectives, increase intentionality and gather tools for healthy and God-honoring parenting of your children as you live and serve in a cross-cultural ministry environment. The main ideas that this course addresses are:
- Basic principles of the life of a third culture kid (TCK.)
- The active role of God — God is actively engaged in the unique process of experiencing life as a culture-crossing family. His calling into this life is accompanied with His ongoing guidance and provision.
- General concepts of Christian parenting — There are some biblical principles of parenting that are true in all places and all times — these should inform our parenting of our TCKs.
- Cross-cultural parenting — God has brought you into a new place and a new life. Your family’s approach to parenting and to the life of children should on some level be adapted to the realities of the new environment.
- The role of parents — Active and purposeful parenting of TCKs involves addressing the unique realities of each of your children’s journeys and serving as a guide to navigate those in a Christ-following way. This includes rejecting fear as a primary factor in parenting decisions, viewing difficulties as challenges rather than liabilities, walking purposefully through the grief that many and constant changes will bring to you and your family, and embracing the paradox of the interplay of the costs and benefits inherent in an expat life.
- Identity & Security — The source of a Christian’s sense of identity and security should be in Christ rather than in what the world has to offer — “normalness” and fitting in.
- Practical Considerations — Parents of TCK’s must make specific decisions about specific family behaviors that often for those who never change contexts are taken for granted. Among these are formal education, relationships with grandparents, moral decisions, philosophy of physical possessions, frequency of long-duration travel, training in core life skills of the “passport culture”, repatriation, and more.
Are you willing to venture into these concepts and questions and ask God to make you a better parent in your multi-cultural family? The course asks you to make an investment of 10-12 hours of learning time over the 12-day period.
Content, Community, Consultation, Connections
Parenting Third Culture Kids will afford 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. You’ll be able to help each other and learn from one another. Your “been there, done that” course facilitator(s) will also be a great resource for clarifying what you are learning and for providing you with input on assignments that you will complete and discussions in which you will participate.
Is this Course for Me?
Parenting Third Culture Kids is designed for parents who have already lived and ministered at least 3 months 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. Mothers and fathers are strongly encouraged to complete this course together.
Learn with those who have been there!
The course creators for this course are Mark & Julie Morgenstern (Grow2Serve) and Jonathan Hunter (UWM.) Mark is the director for continuing learning through the CIT Next ministry of Center for Intercultural Training. Julie is the operations director for Grow2Serve. They both formerly served as training leaders with ReachGlobal and in leadership roles at South Suburban Evangelical Free Church. Mark and Julie lived and served for 13 years in Russia and Ukraine with their 4 sons who were born in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2001. Jonathan is a MK care specialist and life-long Bible student. He grew up in mountains of Ecuador as an MK from first through twelfth grade. He now lives with his wife and three children in San Jose, Costa Rica and serves as the director of the International Youth Group, a ministry which has served TCKs for the last 50 years.
Please note that ideally, for maximum learning impact, a learner in this course will spend 45-90 minutes daily (Monday – Friday) working on the material. Some of the coursework will involve reading, writing, listening and viewing videos on the computer. Other pieces will involve interacting with other learners and engaging with your family and neighbors while practicing the skills you are learning.