Q: Thanks so much for your
time in participating in this Book Spotlight interview. Could you please
tell us a little bit more about yourself and your family?
My first career was as a teacher of Latin and Greek(!). My husband, Bryan
worked with students for 13 years, most of them with international students
in the UK. Our 3 children, Russell, Matthew and Kirstin, got used to having
house guests with all sorts of languages, colours and clothes. We then
worked with Arab World ministries for 17 years, Bryan as UK director and
myself as a roving pastoral care worker, chiefly involved with supporting
Q: What prompted you to write Families on the Move? How does a Mother who
is interested in writing accomplish the task of getting a book published?
For many years I worked with the Misionary Families network in the UK and
was concerned at the lack of information and resources most had regarding
parenting overseas. Realising that personal advice and lecturing only went
so far, I was at last persuaded to write it all down. For someone who loves
teaching and interacting, the discipline of writing came quite hard! I was
fortunate enough early on in the process to find a Christian publisher who
was conivinced of the need for such a book and prepared to back me. By this
time my children were fairly grown up - in fact the eldest is now in
preparation for service overseas and has two children!
Q: Please give us brief overview of Families on the Move. How can this
book benefit the average family?
From various studies we now know the normal dynamics that operate in the
life of a child brought up overseas, the benefits and challenges. 'Families
on the Move' aims to make this knowledge accessible to busy people and help
them to engage with it. I think growing up overseas is a wonderful
experience and opportunity but there are issues to be dealt with and in the
past the needs of the whole family have not been addressed. Children in
particular often feel they have had no voice in decisions made which
profoundly affect them. Knowledge empowers and makes for effective choices.
What's more there are some very good cartoons which help lighten the
Q: How has your Christian faith impacted upon the way in which you've
chosen to raise your own family?
Perhaps you need to ask my children this question! First and foremost, I
have come to realise that they are God's children and then mine and that he
both entrusts them to me (or I should say us) and cares far more for them
than I could ever. Though I may have aspirations for them, they need to be
free to develop in the way best for them, rather than conform to any
preconceived ideas I may have. As Christians we obviously want our children
to know God, but they have to find their own way, make their own pilgrimage.
I think honesty and maintaining open communication within the family is
vital, even if it is sometimes a painful exercise. Also, as a parent,
admitting wrong and asking for forgiveness as well as expecting our children
to say sorry helps children to appreciate God's forgiveness.
Q: I love the term "TCK" - Could you please tell our readers what a TCK
is and how children are impacted by adventures abroad.
TCK stands for 'Third Culture Kid' and is used to describe any child who
has had the experience of growing up for more than 2 years in a culture
other than their parents' culture (or cultureS in the case of a
cross-cultural marriage). The third culture is not an amalgam of the two but
the group of all those who share than overseas exxperience. Put a crowd of
TCKs into a room together and the place hums - stories, tastes, adventures,
the sense of being different.
The impact is felt most strongly when TCKs return ' home' - for them they
are leaving home. They have become world citizens, acquired all sorts of
life-skills, speak several languages, but very often no-one back home wants
to hear their story. At that re-entry stage it is important that TCKs get a
chance to 'own' their identity. For TCKs roots are in relationships not
places so for those parenting overseas a priority should be nourishing the
Q: Now that you've accomplished the goal of writing and publishing a
book, what are your plans for the future?
Well, I've just finished a book on 'Re-entry' entitled 'Burn-up or
Splash-down:the expatriate guide to re-entry'. It's divided into two parts,
one for adults, one for TCKs. My research showed that very little is done to
prepare expats for return and very little literature exists to help them
make sense of the experience and unpack emotionally. I'm just waiting for
the publisher to give that a go-ahead.
I'm aiming to put my cross-cultural training facility for young people on
a more organised footing. And I'm doing more international seminars with
groups of expats who are doing the business of raising children overseas.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you'd like to share with
our readers? Thanks so much for your time!
I find my time with TCKs incredibly stimulating and at times moving. I
would love to see local churches and sending agencies get more clued up on
the needs of expatriate families - they have such an important role to play
in providing effective continuity in the lives of internationally mobile
families. Re-entry is the most difficult part of the lives of TCKs and their
parents and informed support from local churches can literally be a