I am enjoying the book but, as people have said below, I do find it to be quite anecdotal. I also find that a lot of the dialogue in the anecdotes seems contrived and edited to suit the message the writer is trying to deliver. My great uncle was an ambassador and lived with his wife and four children all over the world. The three daughters have grown up to be well adjusted women and I can't say that they have any of these issues of unresolved grief or inability to fit back into the passport culture. The son's story ended unhappily though. He was the oldest and had traveled the most. He had a lot of difficulty returning to life in Canada when his father's job brought him back home. He had trouble maintaining relationships and eventually became had problems with drugs that led to his death. After reading these chapters, I wonder if some of the issues outlined there were a contributing factor to my cousin's unraveling upon his return to his passport country.
Jenn That's very interesting Jenn. Thank you for sharing.

Chapter 5 of our TCK book is entitled "Why High Mobility Matters". Having laid out the first main overlay of the TCK experience which was growing up in a culturally diverse world, Pollock and Van Reken now present the second main overlay: high mobility. It is explained that TCK's must understand the underlying dynamics and fundamental challenges that come from a high mobility lifestyle. The authors take care to point out that challenge is not necessarily liability. But, the authors are convinced that a common characteristic of the TCK life is needing to work with and work through this challenge which is a process of grief, often unresolved. High Mobility is presented meaning the totality of the comings and goings. And coming and going are transitions to new worlds. An interesting treatise is then presented on 'transition' and its stages: involvement, leaving, transition, entering, reinvolvement. These are rarely easy stages through which to progress. The reason that transitions in particular affect the TCK so intensely is that the degree of frequency is such that the time necessary to proceed through the natural stages is truncated. People pass through the stages of grief differently, and often in a non-linear fashion. Thus, healthy progress through the stages of loss is discouraged or even expressly denied. Reference is made here to the work of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The losses, sometimes hidden and sometimes not, could result from a variety of sources: loss of world, status, lifestyle, relationships, possessions, role models, system identity, or even the loss of past that wasn't. TCK's might be denied the permission to grieve, the time to grieve, or lack the support necessary to do so.

Would anyone else post the main ideas of chap 12?


Ch 12 expands on the idea of unresolved grief as a result of losses felt from high mobility. The unlinear cycle of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance is described in further detail.

The most significant thing for me in this chapter was the notion that grief is normal when seperating from things we love. Everyone has suffered loss and grief of some kind. I also identified with the idea that adult TCK's deal with their problems on their own. I am not sure however, if this is because of emotional withdrawal as the authors suggest or rather as a result of simply being used to coping alone. The chapter ends on an optimistic note with promises of advice to come on of how to be strong in an increasingly globalised world.

I think some of the ideas outlined in the book so far are interesting but feel I want to know more about how the author reached these conclusions.


Thanks for the ch 12 summary, Meral. You raise an excellent question. The co-authors, from my reading, didn't and don't plan to provide research, studies, or statistics. Rather they have gleaned their insights from many (countless even) anecdotal encounters with TCK's through an network of support and common interest. They are quick to add that this is a general description, and myriads of variations from the general definition are possible. Opinions or comments, anyone? Yes, I agree Serge. I was unable to find additional research on TCK's.

I agree the authors' descriptions of the transition process and challenges in the mobility of TCKs was pretty generalized and seemed as though it came from their experience with specific TCKs and what is known about the process of transitions in general. I challenge the idea that "unresolved grief" is one of the two most significant challenges facing TCKs, as from personal experience and what I have seen in other TKCs, it seems as though they have done a pretty good job adapting to their high-mobility lifestyle and do not appear to have a lot of unresolved grief. If other people have seen otherwise, I'm interested in hearing how we as teachers can help facilitate TCKs being able to deal with their grief with better goodbyes or welcomes or in any other ways.

I agree with Alycia's summary. The impression I got was that the authors are arguing that this experience of unresolved grief is something that's unique to TCKs. Despite the fact that they do admit that this argument is based on anecdotal evidence, I found myself reacting almost angrily to the ideas presented. Who's to say that these individuals would not have experienced the same feelings and issues if they had grown up in the same town for their entire lives... My argument is that it's not possible to make these overarching generalizations about the group of TCKs based on individual stories of issues that everybody experiences at one point or another in life. The fact is that some people are unable to deal with certain experiences, and being a TCK is not necessarily the cause of this. True, of course.

It is interesting that Tom stated that everybody experiences these emotions at one point or another, not just TCKs and I believe that to be very true. As I was reading chapter 5 & 12 I felt like I could relate to some of the emotions stated when transition comes my way. I would not say I go through a "cycle" or experience the severity of what was mentioned, but looking back on my past couple moves it has been difficult and I can identify with some statements that were made. I think it just depends on your personality, emotions, and attachment (mine being my passport home) not solely if you are a TCK. -Kim