Many, many, many years ago when I was in college, there was a boy that sat at my table in the cafeteria. He ate with a knife, had a funny haircut, and wore his pants too short, and he was very quiet.
We never bothered to learn his name, we called him Shortpants. And we whispered about him. He was different. He was a TCK from Brazil. I am ashamed to say that my crowd never tried to connect with Shortpants. I hope someone did.
This fall, there are a lot of new TCKs who have graduated from high school in their host countries and are beginning a new assignment (from God) in their home country, i.e. strangers in a strange land.
If I could, I would build a house for all returning TCKs where they could live their first year. In this house would be unconditional acceptance of the TCK’s “differences” (in dress, speech, manners) and understanding of their “ignorance” (of styles, sports, movies, words). One year in this buffer-zone would be helpful…I think. But I can’t build that house, I can’t even be there.
However, there is a wonderful solution, better than a house, better than I (a non-TCK) being there. There are people who do accept and understand completely! Older TCKs should look out for the new, younger ones.
What better friend could there be than one who has been there, done that, and has survived. I challenge the older TCKs to look around you. Reach out! Be that connecting hand that reaches from one world to the other.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then while we have opportunity , let us do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Galatians 6:9,10