Missionary Kids

by | May 4, 2012 | Missions Articles

A fun update from the Vandeput Family

I’m a second generation Pastor’s Kid (PK) and I’m married to a PK, so it shouldn’t be much of a stretch for us to help guide and direct the steps of our children as they maneuver through life as MK’s (Missionary Kids). Right?
But you see, here is the thing, I don’t feel confidant. I feel out of my element and one of the reasons is I am unsure how to help guide my children who are growing up between cultures. They aren’t entirely American and not entirely European; they live a life of in between. They give the verse “Of the world, but not in it” a totally different twist. Right now the issues are simple: forgetting a word in English or being in awe of a restaurant who gives free refills, but I know the living between two cultures will only get more difficult as they grow older.
Another thing is that they live a life where change, not consistency, is the normal. They are used to people coming and going, traveling, staying the night at unfamiliar places, meeting new people all the time and saying goodbye all the time. Their lives since we have moved has felt like they have been in a constant state of either:

A. About to transition 
B. Transition 
C. Adjusting to the transition

But the beauty of all of this is that kids are resilient and as long as they feel secure, it doesn’t matter where they are, who they are around, where they live or where they go; they thrive and this has truly been our experience. They are still very young: 5, 3 and 1 and the older two are just starting preschool, but I know that as they grow, this feeling of “in between” and “constant change” will only be compounded if they aren’t firmly rooted and grounded in the love and acceptance of their heavenly Father.

As I’ve taken my insecurities as a parent before the Lord, He has reminded me that my role in raising MK’s is not any different than raising them as PK’s or just K’s for that matter. We must as parents lead our children to be followers of Jesus first and foremost. All that other stuff will fall into place if our children are going hard after the things of God; if THEY desire for their lives to be a pleasing incense before the Lord. My goal as their mother is to show them by example what a joy it is to follow Jesus and to be their most outrageous, outspoken, encouraging cheerleader.

Being an MK will give them their own unique lens on life and I can’t wait to see the way it shapes and molds them.
And to end on a funny note, I just have to wonder how many of these they will relate to in 15 years.

You know you’re a Missionary Kid WHEN:

• You feel odd being in the ethnic majority.
• You don’t have a license, but you have a passport
• You can’t answer the question, “Where are you from?”
• Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five times.
• You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel.
• You speak two languages, but can’t in spell either.
• You flew before you could walk.
• You embarrass yourself by asking what swear words mean.
• You think in grams, meters, and liters.
• You have friends from or in 29 different countries.
• You wince when people mispronounce foreign words.
• You don’t know where home is.
• You’d rather never say hello than have to say goodbye.
• Someone brings up the name of a team, and you get the sport wrong.
• You believe vehemently that football is played with a round, spotted ball.
• You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism.
• You realize what a small world it is, after all.
• You know how to pack for a month in a carryon.
• You know the difference between 110 and 220 volts.
• Your parents’ siblings are strangers to you, but you have 50-60 Aunts and Uncles who are no blood relation to you at all.
• You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
• The majority of your friends don’t speak English as a first language.
• You watch a movie set in a foreign country, and you know what the nationals are REALLY saying into the camera.
• You frequently say, “I don’t know, I was out of the country.”


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