As a part of our training, I (Jamison) recently read a book called Third Culture Kids. It describes both the blessings and challenges that children, like Ezra and Violet, will face when they’re raised in a culture different from that of their parents. By the time I put the book down, I was thinking, “Why in the world are we putting our children through this?” Essentially, the books tells story after story about how “TCK’s” never quite fit in anywhere. They are strangers and aliens wherever they go.
Where is “home” for a child who spends the majority of his/her developmental years in Japan but carries a U.S. passport and speaks English at home? What happens when he/she returns to the U.S. school system on furlough but feels more comfortable learning in Japanese? How will our blonde-haired little boy feel about sticking out everywhere he goes in Japan? Are you really prepared to miss all those family gatherings back home?
The more I learned, the more I felt the urge to protect Ezra and Violet from the difficulties of living in an unfamiliar, strange (to me) culture. My children are precious little ones that need to be shielded from all the emotional trauma of the “TCK” life! Then, the Lord graciously reminded me of another way to view them–not as fragile, but as potentially deadly weapons. Can you see it in her eyes?
Psalm 127:4-5, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Yes, it is good, and it honors God when parents protect their children. I tell Ezra to stop every time he tries dragging Violet across the floor like a rag-doll, for example. It is also fitting that parents raise their children with an eye toward letting them fly. Our children are little, vulnerable and cute. They’re also a very real threat to the kingdom of darkness. We’re going to Japan, hoping and praying that God would call Ezra and Violet to himself and then use their experience, learning the Japanese language and the culture, to call many people to himself. This is a family pursuit that we’re engaging in; it’s a multi-generation ministry. Please pray for us, as we prepare to let our little ones loose on the nations.