We are delighted to share with you this guest post by Danny Coyle. Danny is an American ATCK who pastored TCKs in China and is raising 2 TCKs of his own.
I moved to Hong Kong when I was 9yrs old. I grew up as a TCK, in a youth group and school full of TCKs. When I left university, I became a youth pastor of TCKs for 3 years. Now, as a father of 2 kids growing up in Beijing, I’m raising 2 TCKs. I would say this gives me a unique perspective on TCKs.
If I could boil the TCK experience down into one word, it would be trust. What is trustworthy? In the storms of change, where is the foundation?
For a TCK, nothing is predictable. Relationships change, schools change. It seems like every year there is a major upheaval, and you aren’t sure if things are going to work out favorably next time around. In fact, they rarely do.
We develop mechanisms to insulate ourselves from the insecurity and pain. None of the mechanisms I developed for myself were healthy. They were all based in pride, selfishness, fear and shame. I still deal with the repercussions of those decisions in my own life to this day. But that’s all I knew how to do then.
Now that I’m older, I can look back on growing up as a TCK. I can look into the lives of the kids I pastored, and now my own children. It’s easy to see the message that I want all of them to hold onto for life, for dear life.
This is what I want my kids to live out loud: I will trust Jesus with everything I am – even though I may not agree, don’t understand, no one else is doing it, and all my inner urges point in a totally different direction.
For a TCK, trusting Jesus in this way is impossible – without a savior. Our TCKs need to know that they were not designed to endure such unpredictable circumstances. It’s actually impossible to survive them with hearts intact. They must trust Jesus in every way, always; he is their only hope.
In my mind, there isn’t any higher theme or higher goal in life.
If we are going to tell this to our TCKs, however, we first need to model it in our own lives. Our TCKs are bright enough to know when we are preaching something that we aren’t living. This message will stink like a sewer if you aren’t living it first.
And the first step to living this life of trust is recognizing that you can’t do it without a savior, either.