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How Being a TCK Can Become a Cornerstone of One’s Identity

Group Studio Shot Of Young Multi-Cultural Friends Smiling And Laughing At Camera

Being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) is something that stays with a person for their entire life and in many cases can become a cornerstone of their identity.

Third Culture Kids go through many different experiences in life that some don’t get to see, and these experiences help mold them into the people they eventually become.

Multi cultural guys and girls taking funny selfie outdoor
Photo via Envato Elements

My roommate and close friend Lucius showed us that while many misconceive being a TCK as a negative thing, it ends up being an amazing thing that can make you a unique and culturally fluid person.

FACING SCRUTINY

TCKs face scrutiny that others don’t have to endure and because of this, there can be the false thought that it can have a negative impact on one’s life. The opposite is true, as embracing being a Third Culture Kid allows one to be part of multiple diverse cultures and witness amounts of culture that some don’t see their entire life.

Third Culture Kid Venn diagram (https://www.madisonzeller.com/cultureclub)
Third Culture Kid Venn diagram (via madisonzeller.com/cultureclub)

When a child grows up as a TCK, they are generally coming from two or more different cultures. The meshing of cultural practices from both cultures occurs throughout their childhood and almost acts to form in the child their own unique culture/cultural identity.

I interviewed my grandfather named Hal for this article, as he grew up part Native American and part English. I was very intrigued by his experience and how now after living a full life, he had valuable takeaways from growing up as a TCK. I inquired about these takeaways and how reflecting back on his life how being a Third Culture Kid changed him as a person.

‘PEOPLE COME DIFFERENT’

“A lot of people don’t see that we’re all people, all from different walks of life,” Hal says. “It’s hard for some people to see this when their whole life they’ve been told and shown that their culture is the only one that is relevant to them in their own life, as it’s the only one they experience. Growing up as a Third Culture Kid allowed me to understand from a very young age that people come different. We are all unique in so many ways that it’s foolish to nitpick someone’s culture. Yes, culture does make a significant part of who we are, but every single person has a different mix in them and once you realize that, you can start seeing all people as they truly are: people.”

These words really stuck with me. I was shown yet again how being a Third Culture Kid can be a blessing.

A lot of people don’t see that we’re all people, all from different walks of life.

Group of multi-cultural cute children spending playtime with friends playing foosball together.
Photo via Envato Elements

Some people are hateful and spend their entire lives failing to realize the things that being a TCK taught my grandfather when he was just a child. To him, this seemed so simple and straightforward, as it seems natural for him to let peoples’ actions speak for them, not anything else.

Yet so many people today struggle to grasp this, and it stems from a lack of cultural fluidity and awareness.

Not everyone is born a Third Culture Kid. We must ensure we listen and hear the stories that TCKs have to share, as we often end up shocking ourselves with new takeaways that will last a lifetime.

Group Of Multi-Cultural Children On Window Seat Together
Photo via Envato Elements
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