I first heard the term TCK while riding in a Singaporean taxi. It was shortly after we landed in this new country and the term flew by my ears like a breeze. Interesting… Could it be related to my kids? Not sure. One day I should look into it…
Back in those days we were at the midst of our move from Israel to Asia. We already had quite an experience in moving between countries. A decade earlier we started our journey in the US, had our two American citizen kids, moved to a two-year relocation in Australia, and then went back to our roots for a six years stay in our homeland – Israel. And yet, the term just passed by me, marked as something that one day will be worth reading, and then abandoned.
Only two years later TCK broke into my life in all its glory. It was when we were working together on a research proposal for my friend’s PhD dissertation. The subject, it was clear, would be the children we both were so familiar with. Her children, my children, all those young nomads who roll between international schools while following us. Those who are torn time and again from departing friends, those who are used upon leaving to open and close emotional drawers over relationships, friendships, romances.
And when it came, the concept of TCK has totally swept over my family. Initially captivating me with its organization and the meaning it offered – both to my children’s confused identities and to their methods of coping (or should I say un-coping) with frequent separations from friends and family members. Attracted right after me was my hubby. He was taken by the endless future opportunities embedded in the concept of TCK. The vision of TCKs as a promise for the future of the world. ‘Leaders of the future’ was how they were described in one of the books we read, thanks to their unique intercultural skills.
But beyond its appeal to us, the concept of TCK had the greatest significance for our young adolescents. For them, TCK became synonymous with identity. As stated beautifully by my daughter – ‘When I first heard the term TCK, I suddenly felt connected. For the first time I found a group in which I was not different’.
TCK became part of our family and we use it in conversations with our children and between us. It has many implications – some positive, others more challenging. And yet for us it has become a framework for understanding the situation in which we live, and a way to deal with the challenges these lives may be posing for all of us.
By Dr Taly Goren, a long time traveler between nations and continents,
relocation specialist, parents groups facilitator, mother of two adolescent TCKs,
and the wife of a Hi-Tech Expat frequent flyer.