Third Culture Kids
- By Sam George
- Published 02/7/2009
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
In the coconut generation book, I had dealt with this phenomena called TCK. Generally it was being used for Western missionary kids growing up in overseas mission fields. More recenlty the term is being used for children of migrant workers in a globalized world. But it brings out tension of living between two cultures.
Recently I came across a study by professor of psychology Richard Nesbitt that brought out difference between Eastern and Western worldviews. He showed a group of Americans and Asians individual pictures of a chicken, a cow, and hay. When they were asked which of the pictures go together, Americans typically picked the two animals. Asians typically picked the cow and the hay, since cows eat hay.
Americans tend to see categories, whereas Asians are more likely to see relationships. That’s why doing business in Asia is about more than signing a contract; it’s about relationships of trust. Often the Western world focuses on privacy and individual rights, whereas the Asian world focuses more on collective harmony, collective society.
People in [individualistic] societies tend to overvalue their own skills and overestimate their own importance to any group effort. People in collective societies tend to value harmony and duty. They tend to underestimate their own skills and are more self-effacing when describing their contributions to group efforts.”
When two worlds converge, it is devastating as well very exciting. Not many can identify with their struggles, yet they develop unique leadership traits for the new world. President Obama is a recent example of blending of cultures and leadership of third culture kids. Governer of Lousiana Bobby Jindal is another example from the Indian American community.
More on it later. Welcome to the world of Coconuts!!!