It can be challenging to share some of the deeper, harder things about living overseas and usually I try to keep this blog on the lighter side. But, here’s a piece of those ‘deeper’ things.

Who wants failure? Parents of Third Culture Kids.

We want failure because if your kid fails at wrestling, it isn’t hard to leave behind when you go back to Africa. If your kid fails to make the gifted cadre at school, it isn’t hard to go back to bottom-of-the-barrel schools in Africa. If your kid fails to improve in volleyball, it isn’t hard to never play again.

I guess we don’t really want failure, not exactly. But, for example, when Lucy was taking the gifted and talented test earlier this year, I was surprised by my thoughts. I hope she does well, so we’ll be confirmed in thinking she is smart. But I hope she doesn’t do too well, because we aren’t staying.

So what do you do…No, how do you feel when your son is undefeated in wrestling and feels he has finally found something he excels at? How do you feel when your daughter, who should actually be in Kindergarten, tests way above the requirements for First Graders to enter the gifted and talented program? How do you feel when your daughter enjoys a sport for the first time in her life and feels proud of the progress she has made, or when all she wants is to take the pottery class across the street?

But you know your son will never wrestle again. You know your daughter will go back to a school next year that crushes her spirit and makes her believe she is stupid (as happened to her older siblings). You know your daughter won’t feel clay between her fingers and won’t find a volleyball net in the country you are going back to?

I’ll tell you how you feel. You feel pain.

Because it hurts to not be able to give good things to the people you love.

And confusion.

Because all these three children want to go back to that place, the country that seems to steal so much from them, yet gives so much to them that they call it home.

And hope.

Because wrestling medals and gifted programs and volleyball trophies aren’t the most important things in life. Loving God, loving people, engaging in the world, experiencing adventure, contentment…those are things that matter and those are the things that are happening in the lives of my three TCKs.

And I’m proud of them.