WILL OUR CHILDREN LOSE OUT BY GROWING UP OVERSEAS?

“Growing up overseas, I acquire two languages and cultures to see the world with binocular vision,” Tom wrote in his college application essay. It is true. Intercultural competency that comes with living abroad equips young people to explore new places and relate to people from all kinds of backgrounds. Ultimately, raising children anywhere is a challenge. Parenting is a stewardship, and the best gift we can give our children is to model a life of faith and obedience. Today, Tom and his wife are accomplished young professionals with plans to serve overseas through their careers.

Among our tentmakers, the Derricks were the first family to send their kids to college. As teachers on modest salaries and partial support, they home-schooled all three children. In the 90s, the boys’ high school curriculum materials had to be mailed from the US. It was very much a faith journey under-girded with prayer. So when their oldest did well on his SATs and got admitted to college with full scholarship, there was great rejoicing and praise. Eventually, all three children went to college in the US on scholarship. Two did graduate work, and one went into ministry. They are all married with good careers, and making their widowed mother proud.

The most recent family sending their children to college are the Changs. By contrast, the two children grew up attending international schools with tuition paid for by their father’s employer. John and Sandy love the Lord, benefitting from the ministry of an Afro-American youth pastor called to serve teens in China. They visited earthquake victims and tutored migrant children. Upon high school graduation, both got into their university of choice in the US, and continued serving on campus and doing summer missions.  John is now taking a gap year as a missionary intern in a Muslim country before he goes to graduate school. He aspires to become a teacher in a developing country, but is open to full-time ministry. For her freshman summer, Sandy returned to China to do campus outreach, a first step to explore God’s calling in her life.