TCKs You Already Know

Building a New WorldI’m always fascinated when I find out someone is a TCK.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a person I know or a famous person whose work I find interesting.  It brings a smile to my face when I find out they belong to the “tribe” I love.

Last night I got to see “The King’s Speech.”  (Unless you’re easily offended by some curse words used in a manner of frustration more than vulgarity, you’ve got to see it!)   As painful as I found the 300 minutes of Pride and Prejudice,  I didn’t hold it against Mr. Darcy . . . I mean, Mr. Firth.  I enjoy most of his films—and when I think of Mr. Darcy, I think of Colin Firth.

I came home from the movie and decided to learn about this actor whose work I esteem.  It didn’t take me long to learn that he’s a TCK.  He spent his childhood not only in England but also in the USA and Nigeria.  As typical of many TCKs, his childhood impacts his passions.  He is quite involved with standing up for the rights of both tribal groups and developing nations.

All this new knowledge made me think about people who most people can identify but don’t identify as Third Culture Kids.  I thought you might like to have a partial list of some of them.  (C’mon!  You know you’re curious!)

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that President Barack Obama is a TCK.  If you filter his decisions through the TCK profile, you can see they’re more logical than they may seem otherwise.  Many of his original cabinet members and advisors are TCKs—Valerie Jarrett, Timothy Geithner, and James L. Jones.  There are probably others, but those are the highest profiles in the group.

TCKs abound in the political realm.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent a chunk of his adolescence in Philadelphia.  John Kerry, a diplomatic corps kid and US senator from MA, went to high school in Switzerland.  North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il was born in the USSR and spent part of his childhood in China.  The former French Prime Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin is a TCK from Morocco and Venezuela.

And in the world of acting where players put on characters like a wardrobe of selves?  TCKs are abundant.   Colin Firth, Greg Kinnear (Lebanon and Greece), Kathleen Turner (Canada, Venezuela, England, and Cuba), William Hurt (Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan), Dylan Walsh (somewhere in East Africa, India, and Indonesia), Mel Gibson (Australia), Sandra Bullock (Austria and Germany), are all TCKs.  The screen and the theater seem a popular destination for TCKs.

The sports world is blessed with a few TCKs, too.  Kobe Bryant (Italy), Shaquille O’Neal (Germany), Steve Kerr (Arab world), Steve Nash (South Africa and Canada), Andrew Luck (England and Germany), Luol Deng (Egypt and England), and of TCK/MK/Bronco Tim Tebow (the Philippines) all fit the TCK profile.

Literature owes much to TCKs.  Rudyard Kipling is one of the most famous TCKs who wrote from his unique perspective.  “We and They” is a great testament to this.  Isabelle Allende (Peru, Bolivia, Lebanon), Pearl S. Buck (China), children’s author Lois Lowry (Japan), J.R.R. Tolkien (South Africa), and  Elspeth Huxley (Kenya) are TCKs.  Oh! Pico Iyer (USA) is, too—his writing about being a TCK is beautiful.

There are more.  This list is just a scratch on the surface.  TCKs are everywhere.  They impact many lives–even when they’re not famous.

Who would you add to the list?

photo courtesy of Jaci Lopes dos Santos


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