Saturday 13 May 2017

Family dynamics

I'm fully aware that I have two children who didn't choose to come into missions. All is wonderful at the moment, because they are still very young and being here in the Philippines is 'normal' for them. My eldest who remembers our last location does sometimes question "Can we move back to South Africa" or "Can we see our friends in England tomorrow", not understanding that flights and time differences, not to mention cost make this thing that's so easy in his mind a practical impossibility! The question in my mind right now is: how do I support my children through the process of being a third culture kid, that is, growing up in different countries other than that of their parents 'home' culture?

We have only been in full time Christian service for 7 years, yet in that time we have gone from being a married couple to being a family of four. Budgets have had to increase and at times stretched. During the hard times, we saw God's provision amazingly break through our needs so that the children were always fed and the rent was always paid!

So, as I journey in missions, I see many missionaries who have struggled with their children. The confusion about being different from the others in their home country, the questions of the work of their parents and the confusion related to growing up overseas means that I'm eager to 'get it right' for my family. If anybody's got any ideas on how to do this right, then I'd love to know.

Right now, we're just aware that it's an issue that may become big for my children in 10-15 years. We are investing heavily in them now, homeschooling them at times and bringing them into our decision making processes, where appropriate.

I know that there's no perfect way to parent, but I want to strive towards helping my kids have a healthy and happy childhood that will prepare them for their adult lives, however they choose to live them! And I pray that their faith will be strong too!