[Are you an MK? Please briefly submit the reason(s) you loved growing up as you did in the comments space below! And don’t miss the video.]
I’ve received several emails, lately, that ended with a disheartened question like this one: “Is it even possible to raise a happy MK?”
Yes. A resounding yes! That’s why I try so hard to point out potential pitfalls so we can identify and disarm them, enabling our young people to thrive in the blessings of growing up between worlds.
Regardless of the inherent challenges, I have yet to meet an MK of any age who wishes he/she hadn’t been born into the complex, transitory and enriching world of international ministry. Even those who carry the burdens of unresolved pain and lack of full belonging to any of their cultures will declare without any hesitation that they simply wouldn’t give it up for anything.
I should know what it feels like to love being an MK—I am one of them. And though my journey has held its share of hurdles and injuries, it has also imprinted my life with experience, understanding and perspective that couldn’t have been gained in any other lifestyle.
So as I continue to devote much of my writing to shedding a light on the unspoken hardships of growing up in ministry, educating the parents of MKs about the precursors and symptoms of MK attrition, I want to make sure the joys, blessings and advantages of the lifestyle get sufficiently recognized too!
That’s why I produced the video below: to help people to better understand MKs, but also to celebrate the greatness of being a Missionaries’ Kid. (You may have seen the first 60 seconds in a Thanksgiving Project video…the rest is new.)
Do you feel the same? Use the “comment” space below to add the reason or reasons you’ve loved growing up this way. Even if your reason has been stated 20 times before, state it again!
So the next time a missionary writes to ask if MKs can grow up to be happy about their multi-cultural ministry background, I can point to this post and say, “See? Here are 50 of them who wouldn’t trade if for the world!”
As always, don’t forget to like and share using the buttons below. If you’d like to share just the video, its URL is: https://bit.ly/1m4Vn5n
If the comments section doesn’t work for you, drop me a note using the “contact” link at the top of the page or leave your comment on my Facebook post related to this article. I’ll transcribe it for you!
I’ve gotten to visit 14 countries!
I’ve seen true poverty firsthand.
Being an MK was one of the best things in the world. Going to boarding school was hell on earth. All I would take out is the horrid houseparents who abused. But the friends I made there are the best friends, love the African people. Love that I got to travel.
I can’t imagine being anything but an MK/TCK. America, despite living here for so long now, and being surrounded by it, still astounds me and doesn’t get me. I’m guaranteed to be comfortable and at ease and generally happy when I’m with MKs. Sure, my physical home(s) have been taken from me and I’ve yet to anchor down, but I understand the sacrifice that comes with all of it and what my parents had to go through and how hard they strove to make my childhood “normal.” I’ve been able to travel the world, to go somewhere and not be a tourist, to go somewhere and help people, to go somewhere and have to learn to live there. I’ve loved and lost friends everywhere, but I have gained so many more. Who in the world can say they know someone in every timezone? That they can go anywhere and know someone, or have at least a friend who has a reliable in country contact to help out? Being an MK/TCK is awesome, hard at times, but I wouldn’t have changed it.
In spite of the hard times, I wouldn’t trade my life as an MK! Love the world travel and experiences that I got to have growing up.
I thank my parents often for raising me overseas. I love that I speak a second language, that I’ve traveled and seen/lived different ways of life, that I have friends from all over the world, that I have a broader worldview, that I know about and love Mexican candy and food….
Great video interview, Michele Phoenix. I agree with all the pluses and minuses mentioned by your interviewees. My takeaway from being an MK is almost all positive. The negatives mostly were being a PK (Pastor’s Kid) in France while growing up, I think that made me feel more different than being an American (because I really wasn’t since I was born in France and went to kindergarten at age 3, so I identified mostly as French). Keep up the good work!
Growing up as an MK has allowed me to live in three different countries and has helped me understand the world in a way that I never would have had I grown up solely in the States. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet so many fantastic people with different cultural backgrounds and as a result I have grown to have a heart for all the nations. Though there were definitely challenges with moving frequently I would not change my upbringing for anything.
I’m not going to lie. There have been times when I’ve wished I’d been born into a “normal” family in a “normal” context. But…when I consider what I’ve experienced that none of my friends have, I have to acknowledge that the blessings of growing up with a global wordview and with a focus on helping others have far outweighed the benefits of a simpler life. I couldn’t be happier to be an MK.
Being an MK forces you to have deep roots in God. Because your home is not physical, your confidence, your identity has to be rooted in what is unseen. You see God work first hand you just KNOW he is alive and working. Your depth of your walk with him is untradable for all the wealth in the world.
I think it’s possible to really live in the good stuff while admitting that there were some harder aspects of growing up this way too. It’s a choice I’ve made–to be grateful to my parents for giving me such a huge leg up in life be allowing me to grow up overseas, and forgiving them for the unforeseen trials that also came from their decision to become missionaries. The good way outweighs the challenging…
As an MK, I had the best childhood ever. I was privileged to speak different languages, live in a different culture, make friends all over the world and have amazing experiences. My parents always told me that it was a privilege to be a missionary and instilled in me the ability to cope with any situation. What a great life lesson.
Great informative video. Things I have not been able to say.
I think some of the ‘downside’ was probably more fresh for these people, because they’re still young and going thru it NOW. When you get to be my age (pushing 60) and all the time and experiences that go with that, you settle in and are more stable in ‘where you are’ and ‘who you are’. I think I would have probably said much of the same things when I was in college (and recently arrived ‘back’ from Japan). Now I am truly back in Japan and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world, especially dorm life, working with my parents in ministry, etc.