Tuesday Topic: Missing Prom, Among Other Things

Erin wrote to me a couple of weeks ago with some great suggestions about discussion topics for issues that moms with older kids face. Here is a thought provoking Tuesday Topic from her!

As parents who grew up in the States, we know what growing-up experiences are “highly prized,” such as proms, clubs, sports teams, etc.  These are often pretty much non-existent for MK’s or TCK’s – is this a struggle for your teen abroad? Do they “know” what they are missing?  How can you help supplement those experiences with something different?

(And on an unrelated note, check out Erin’s blog posts from February and read about her experience serving on a medical team in Haiti. It reminded me again of the importance of our continued prayers for the people there.)

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

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5 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Missing Prom, Among Other Things”


  1. 1 Ashley L. April 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    My kids are little, so I am no expert, but I did attend an all girls performing arts school in high school and didn’t have prom, other clubs to attend, sports teams, etc. It didn’t matter at all to me at the time (and I still don’t feel that I missed out) because I knew that I was getting other unique experiences in the place of the things that I missed. I hope my kids will feel the same if we are still overseas when they are in high school. I think my parents did a good job of encouraging me recognize and treasure the experiences that I had at my school that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere. Perspective from them and my teachers really helped me not feel like I was missing out.

  2. 2 Shilo April 6, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Sports was a huge part of my life so sometimes I do feel sad for kids who don’t have that opportunity to learn about themselves and working on a team. Really though, my kids have so many OTHER AMAZING experiences that I am so thankful for. I guess it’s up to us as parents to focus on the good and not give the impression that you get jipped serving God! Au contraire!

  3. 3 Andrea Pavkov April 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I think often you can find things for your kids to do with other MK’s in your area. Myself and another mother recently started a youth group for our kids. As well our boys do not have a sports program or club to belong to but play street hockey with other MK’s on Saturday mornings. If MK’s parents are willing to participate and take time out to supervise group activities it can work out well. I would also like to say in my opinion there are many of those “American” activities that my kids are better off without. Like others have said we need to teach our kids to appreciate the life they get to lead and the experiences they get to have that most kids their ages do not receive.

  4. 4 Erin April 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I agree with the above. However, I feel it would be remiss if we did not acknowledge that there are simply things our teens will not experience that others their age group will. It’s difficult enough for adults to go back to the States for visits and meet with old friends and acquaintances that just don’t quite “get us” anymore. It is, however, a very different things when my 13 year old daughter goes back to visit. She has no problem relating to those kids, but the kids in the States don’t relate at all to the incredible experiences she has had, and therefore kind of avoid her. She doesn’t let that stop her though! She has some great friends who love her for who she is. As far as doing things with other MK’s – you need to keep in mind there are many fields where the MK community is very small. My daughter only has 1 child her age (and it’s a boy) that lives close by. Her other friend is about an hour and a half away. Therefore, supplementing sports (girls do NOT play sports here), Youth Groups, etc. is out of the question. And I know that my daughter appreciates and loves the things that she is experiencing, activities she is involved with in our ministries, speaking another language – but there simply will be missed opportunities. My daughter knows she is not getting jipped, she knows how important it is in what she is doing. She lead our ESL class yesterday by herself 🙂 Just an interesting perspective, and one to keep in mind if you are working with a team where there are older children. Most teams have little ones, and look to the difficulties of raising little ones on the field, and often times teams don’t look or focus on the needs of older children – just something to keep in mind. Thanks for the input and keep it coming!

  5. 5 Richelle April 7, 2010 at 12:59 am

    We’ve got 2 teens and a tween… and we are blessed to live in a capital city where there is a large expat community, so we feel they get many of those “opportunties,” even though they don’t always look as they would in the States. Because we’ve also had our children in national schools, they’ve had the opportunity to participate in the same sorts of “coming of age” activities that are typical for children from our host culture, too.

    Of course, there are some differences – in our host country, basketball is not; soccer is huge. So this year, while home on furlough, our oldest enjoyed playing soccer with the school team; he wanted no part of basketball because he didn’t want to look foolish and although I would have liked to see him try it, I had to respect that decision. I grew up on a swim team – because I work to organize it, they have a piece of that experience while we are on the field, but only for 6 weeks each year. On the other hand, their animal menagerie is amazing and they take full advantage of that.

    As far as relating to other kids, we’ve found that our children are pretty outgoing. They find their life in Africa amazing and want to share about it; they are also amazed by life in America and want to learn about their peers and their activities, people seem to accept and include them, even if they don’t always understand everything about them. Actively teaching our children to see ways to minister to others, regardless of where we are has been key – not that it is always easy. There are akward moments and misunderstandings, sometimes hurt feelings. I guess, in general, it is our responsiblity as parents to offer opportunities as we can, but then be prepared to disciple our children through the unavoidable culture clashes and difficult periods, realizing that suffering and troubles are opportunities for them to run to God… and I need to model that response in my life – authentically. Good communication is vital… learning to just listen as they process things is even more important. A big surprise has been that they don’t always want our solutions, but just want us to listen and encourage…

    We are so thankful that our kids love their life and really feel like they are getting the best of both worlds. Our biggest fear is that they will end up with a bit of a celebrity mentality… We are still relatively new at this journey with teens – so I’m looking forward to any other suggestions/ideas.


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