Welcome to Day 19 of a 31 day challenge to write 500 words or more.  For more on that click here:  goinswriter.com

by Whitni Thomas, MK

I grew up in a Yellow country
But my parents are Blue.
I’m Blue.
Or at least, that is what they told me.
But I play with the Yellows.
I went to school with the Yellows.
I spoke the Yellow language.
I even dressed and appeared to be Yellow.
Then I moved to the Blue land.
Now I go to school with the Blues.
I speak the Blue language.
I even dress and look Blue.
But deep down, inside me, something’s Yellow.
I love the Blue country.
But my ways are tinted with Yellow.
When I am in the Blue land,
I want to be Yellow.
When I am in the Yellow land,
I want to be Blue.
Why can’t I be both?
A place where I can be me.
A place where I can be green.
I just want to be green.

This poem is an open door — and invitation to come in and take an up close and personal peek at what people like me have been trying to figure out.  Whitini Thomas gives the perfect visual to what she feels like as a TCK.  Torn between two places, not completely connected to either but wishing she could be her own thing.

The lines that gets me is the fourth from the last and the last . . . “Why can’t I be both? . . . I just want to be green.”

It has become a part of my heart to help TCK’s and their parents recognize that green is good.  They CAN be green.  In fact, they can be BRIGHT GREEN.

There are several dynamics to the whole concept that need some thinking through.  Here they are in vomit (500 words) formation:

ONE:  People are resistant to the idea of being bright green if it is not communicated carefully.  I haven’t nailed down the perfect language just yet but I do know that this runs the risk of sounding like it is dismissive of the genuine and legitimate down sides of growing up cross-culturally.  Kind of like we’re trying to put a happy stamp on the whole experience.  “Just look on the bright side” is tantamount to “Just ignore the hard stuff.”  So in the language of any talk surrounding “bright green”, realistic empathy must be present.

TWO:  50-50 does not work.  Much of the conversation, training etc. around TCK’s leans heavily on a pro-con list.  It’s on practically every website, in every book and in most of the training.  I get it.  There are two sides but just presenting the facts offers very little hope.  ALSO if you share a 50-50 list of good things and bad things with a group of parents who are raising their kids abroad they are going to filter that into practically all negative.  Fear is a stronger motivator than hope.  So I personally feel we need to dial up the hope and apply the hope to the fear.

THREE:  Creativity is key.  Being bright green is about engagement not information.  Information is important and there is probably training that can go with this but where it becomes active is where it will connect.  I’m not sure exactly what that looks like but I’ve got a lot of ideas.  It definitely needs to become a crowd-sourced idea though.  Artists and writers and creatives of all sorts need to be added to the data finder mix to give this any hope.

FOUR:  I love this idea.  Not simply because it could help a lot of people but because I want my kids to be bright green.  I want them to recognize the strengths of their upbringing.  I want them to move forward with confidence that even though their formative years have been filled with transition, they are anchored to something solid.

And those are my 500 words.

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