05 November, 2014

My kids can't win

Yesterday a friend told me that her son had come home upset the other day. Our sons are friends and unfortunately our youngest son somehow let slip that he wants to go back to (?his friends in) Japan. His Australian friend was upset because he interpreted that as meaning that our son didn't like him.
Our son with another TCK in Japan
last year. Kids who've grown up
outside their passport culture have
a strong leaning towards friendship
with others who've grown up in similar
circumstances. This kind of upbringing
 makes making friends with "monocultural"
kids hard.

Alas the challenge of having friends in different parts of the world. You miss them when you are apart and can never be with all of your friends at the same time.

It is also challenging when you love two different places. My friend wisely pointed out to her son that our son has spent less than two of his 9 1/2 years in Australia, and that of course he wants to go back to the place he is most familiar with.

I'm grateful that our son has been able to make friends so easily, friends who'll miss him when he's gone. In fact there is a boy in Japan who we said goodbye to in June who is missing our son too. This ability to make such good friends is not something to be taken for granted, but it does bring its own challenges.

It seems that our middle son has managed to make friends too. Last night we attended an orientation evening for entering high school. Several boys came over to say hi to him. He didn't have much to say back, but obviously he's well thought of by a few boys anyway.

By the way, this poor child graduated from Elementary School (5th grade) in June. He "went back" to Primary School in July (6th grade) and will graduate from Primary School next month. He'll enter High School (7th grade) in February and then, when we move back to Japan, will "go back" to Middle School (7th grade) in August next year! After that he should have a smooth progression through to high school until we come back to Australia again (probably during 10th grade).

I'm not sure if our eldest son has made friends. He's not good at defining what friends are. He's not good at communicating about them either. Most often when talking about school we hear about the unreasonable uniform and how he can't wait to go back to Japan. I've stopped asking about friends because he doesn't know how to answer me. We're still praying, though.

I don't want to advise my boys not to tell their Australian friends that they're looking forward to going back to Japan. That would be to introduce lies into their relationships. I just hope that somehow these young men who've opened their hearts to my sons will be able to have some understanding that they long for the country they've grown up in, even if they are not Japanese.

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