One of the most difficult challenges for most TCKs is the phase of life when they move back to their home country. While we do have a few TCKs that stay overseas, study overseas, and/or marry a national – that is the exception. However, most of you will move back to your “home country.” For those of us that have already made the jump, and adjusted to America (my home country), we still have TCK struggles! Just last week I had a dentist appointment. The nurse asked me to move my hands to where I put them when the national anthem was played. I was really confused! I had no idea what she was talking about. She noticed my confusion, and said, “place your right hand over your heart.” I felt really silly! I should have known! How many times have I taken TCKs to baseball games, and been a part of the national anthem. For those of us that have been raised globally, some of these American traditions are learned behavior and not natural to us.
One of our biggest challenges is the concept of the United States of America – which we refer to as “Americana.” It is the idea of the America culture. I have heard leaders say that, “America is the greatest country on earth.” I often have to wonder if that leader had been to every country on earth, to make such a bold statement. However, no matter what country we are in, we see a tremendous amount of cultural pride. Pride in our country is not a bad thing. People create their own culture. The culture of America is created by those living in it. Seems simple. Every country, region, and city has its’ own culture. As foreigners, we need to understand that people have created that culture, and they love it. While we may not understand the concept, we can accept that people love what they have created.
What about your country? Do your friends love their country? I would hope so! As you look at the American culture, I am sure there are things that you don’t like. However, we always have to remind ourselves that there is no such thing a perfect place or perfect people. The only thing that is perfect is God! I challenge you to look at the culture(s) around you with grace. Learn to be a person of grace. It is a challenge! But I am always reminded that I am not perfect, and people have to have grace for me. Without grace, we live in a harsh, unkind society. With grace, we exemplify how God sees us! So, with that, I can look at the culture around me, and enjoy their passions, quirks, and idiosyncrasies! Hopefully, as we model grace, it will be extended back to us.