I was reading the Rule of St.Benedict recently and came across an interesting principle that is quite relevant to parenting young children overseas.
Arranging for our kids to succeed.
How simple! How essential!
We can’t guarantee that our kids will succeed in cross cultural spaces. Third-culture-kids (TCK)face unusual challenges. All the more reason for parents to arrange intentionally for the kids to succeed in the overseas cross-cultural spaces.
Too often parents do not arrange for their kids to succeed. Perhaps we’re too busy, too detached, unaware of our kids’ world, friendships, experiences, or we just haven’t been intentional enough in our parenting. Blessed is that child learning to walk whose mother and father provide arms of support, who kneel one half-step away from that child to catch them and celebrate that first tentative half-step, half lunge, half walk. That’s a way of arranging for our kids to succeed.
We want our kids to succeed, but sometimes we place them in situations where it will be very difficult for them to succeed, maybe even impossible. Imagine the child whose parents stand at the end of a 100 meter track waiting for their not-yet-walking toddler to run into their arms. That doesn’t make any sense. The charitable/loving intentional parent looks at his child and the circumstances and makes adjustments necessary to arrange for that child’s success. We can’t guarantee success, and how we define successful overseas childhood may vary. Yet, as parents we need to have a clear and realistic picture of what that successful childhood or childhood experience might look like. Then, we do our best to arrange for our children’s success not their failure.
Really simple stuff, but not that commonly implemented.
Next time we’ll consider some challenging areas TCKs face and how we might arrange our lives and their lives for success.