Tyler will graduate in a few short weeks and head “home” to college. Except in this case, home isn’t home. We left the US when Tyler was in 2nd grade. I am not sure how much he remembers living there. And while he has visited grandparents often, it isn’t quite the same. We call these children “third-culture” kids. They don’t fit into either culture- the one they were born in or the one they were raised in. Instead they are a combo of both cultures, maybe even the best of both cultures. I tell my students that if our cultures would learn from each other then we would all be better off. Perhaps this is exactly where Tyler is. He is a combination of both cultures, and I believe he is ready to face the challenges about to hit him.
Trust the Father
He is heading to Tarleton, our alma mater. He is joining the Corp of Cadets and plans to study mechanical engineering. This simultaneously terrifies, saddens and excites me. What if he gets lost; forgets which manners to use; doesn’t know the phrases teens use (how often is he around other US kids). He doesn’t look like your average international student, so he may not be given the same grace as others. And yet… Father is present there just like he is here. I have watched God mature Tyler into a loving, kind, smart servant. I have to trust Father will be there in those moments of insecurity: when he doesn’t know which songs to stand up on in church, how to two-step, or questions the culture he has been dropped into after 10 years.
He hasn’t had the same experiences teenagers in the US are used to: only driven a handful of times, never heard of homecoming, never been to a football game, prom, etc. Instead he has: volunteered at Fiesta Tipica, the Lenca Hunger Farm, mission teams, boxed and delivered food packages and the list goes on. He wasn’t given the same freedom as other teens but he has had different kinds of responsibility. Some might say Missionary Kids are free labor. I prefer to phrase it as “volunteers in training.” This has shaped his worldview to a large degree. He displays his faith in quiet servanthood. His prayer right now is not that he will adapt or not get homesick but instead that he will not miss opportunities to serve the Lord. Please join me in praying for him.