Before the flu hit our family like a vicious creature from the black depths of the sea, I had the opportunity to listen to a John Newbery Award author speak at one of the International Schools here in Taipei. Linda Sue Park to be exact.
She’s a TCK, really!
I’m not sure she’d call herself a Third Culture Kid, but I do. Her parents are US immigrants from South Korea. Most of her books are tied back to South Korea in someway, which I love. Her curiosity of her parent’s life before America lead to questions, which lead to story ideas.
She was inspiring…
I’m not Korean, but I was inspired to share my stories and to find out the stories of my family to share with my own children. My kids should know about their great-grandparents and how they survived the dust bowl of the 30’s, how their grandparents survived WWII in Germany/Prussia, and how their parents grew up on opposite sides of the world yet still met and married.
How do you share family stories when you live on different continents?
Stories are usually shared around the table at family gatherings. I grew up in a family that met every Sunday after church at my grandparents’ home for lunch. This is where I heard many of the family stories, but my kids do not have that same opportunity. We live on a different continent and see them every few years.
What to do, what to do…
Be proactive. Keep a journal with the questions you want to ask. Get your kids involved if they are old enough and ask them what they want to know. Buy a book that already has the questions written down. Then spend time with those loved ones and find out the answers. You could even video the question/answer time so your children can watch it later. Your kids may not be that interested in it right now, but someday they will be – and when that day comes wouldn’t it be more fun to have a video or book to look at together than to just stare at them open mouthed and say, “I don’t know.”
My in-laws are visiting in a few months – I need to get that journal bought and ready.
Your Turn: Have you thought about your family stories and how you are going to pass them down to your kids? How have you managed it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses below.
- Field-Trip Madness (raisingtcks.com)
- Family Trees and Living Overseas (raisingtcks.com)
My son is still to young to be interested in this, but you have some great ideas for me to use on our next trip back home.
I am an English language teacher here in Brazil and I often ask my students about their families and where they originally came from. It is sad when a student doesn’t know much beyond the name of their grandparents or great-grandparents.
Thanks for commenting. I agree with you. It is sad when a child doesn’t know too much about his family. I’m glad I was able to give you some ideas. I’ll be teaching middle school next year and I’m thinking about doing a project where they have to ask their parents and grandparents questions about growing up. I’m thinking that might be a way to get them to find out more – with the internet, this kind of project isn’t as difficult to do.
A very interesting topic! Have you seen this article “The Stories That Bind us”? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2& This is what they discovered about resilience: “The students who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges.”
Yes me must tell our kids our stories and yes we must ask our parents and grandparents to tell us their stories. As I get older the urge to hear the stories gets stronger.
Thanks so much for the link. I haven’t read it yet, so I’m excited to see what they say. I really like the quote you wrote though, it makes a lot of sense.
I love Linda Sue Park! In fact I’m leaving maternity lesson plans for A Single Shard!
I love A Single Shard!!!! And I tweeted Linda Sue Park after I wrote this and she said she was definitely a TCK and to quote her “TCKs Rock!” So, that should make you love her even more!
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