Scott Gration’s memoir, Flight Path: Son of Africa to Warrior-Diplomat, is a fascinating book. A retired U.S. Air Force Major General and the former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Scott is also a Third Culture Kid (TCK).
His TCK experiences began in 1953 when Scott’s parents went to Belgian Congo as missionary teachers—he was eighteen months old. His memoir details going to boarding school at the age of seven, escaping the 1964 Congo rebellion as a refugee, and being inducted into the Masai tribe in Kenya. Scott then recounts some of the difficulties he encountered during his move back to the United States and the transition back into his parent’s culture.
But spending his childhood outside of his parent’s culture was an advantage in his military and diplomatic careers. While in Africa, Scott developed an expanded worldview, a multicultural perspective, interpersonal sensitivity, cross-cultural competence, and cultural intelligence. As you read this insightful memoir, you will gain a fascinating glimpse into both the challenges and benefits of being reared as a third culture kid.
You’ll also read fascinating accounts of developing the Predator drone, conducting the 2003 scud hunt in Iraq, and accompanying Senator Obama to Africa in 2006. Scott painfully describes surviving the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and then he recalls speaking at the 2008 National Democratic Convention and helping to birth South Sudan in 2011. Scott’s reflections at the end of the memoir highlight important lessons he gleaned during his unlikely journey from son of Africa to a warrior and diplomat.
You can get more information about the book at www.scottgration.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/scottgration1.
Why/How Does It Happen?
In March, I traveled for two incredible weeks. The first week I spent interacting with adult third culture kids (ATCKs) who had come for a reunion at their former boarding school in Asia. As I watched the happy hugs on arrival, the telling of both hard and wonderful memories, the tears that also came, I knew they were allowing me to share in their sacred spaces. Some had not been back or seen each other for forty years. And yet, here they were – daring to believe that there were important sparks to kindle from relationships and experiences shared in years long gone. Many stayed together in smaller groups the following week to explore places that also held important memories for them. Pictures of foods and locations unknown to me but obviously delightful to them were shared with one another. What was this magical connection I was not only watching, but feeling with them despite the fact I had grown up on a totally different continent than they? » Read more
I am sorry that in the last few years I have let my posting to this website be pretty dormant as I entered a new stage of life of becoming my 96 year old mom’s primary caregiver. But I want my dormancy to change!
I can’t promise a total revolution, but I will do what I can and hope to write something at least once a month for this beginning page of my website. As you can see from the title of the site to other articles already included, my interest has grown from third culture kids only to what it is we have learned from this “prototype citizen” (to use Dr. Ted Ward’s phrase) that is useful as we face the increasing cultural diversity and global mobility so present in todays’ world. I would love to explore some of these questions on forums here with you so will try to start that soon. » Read more
Casual Conversations with Ruth Van Reken
PART 3/3: Diversity and Inclusion Programs
Ruth Van Reken is a second generation Adult Third Culture Kid* (ATCK) who has raised three TCKs herself. For more than twenty-five years, Ruth has traveled nationally and internationally to help others understand why a cross-cultural childhood matters. She is co-founder of Families in Global Transition and co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.
X-E: More and more public and private organizations are committed to develop and maintain global diversity and inclusion programs. What are your recommendations for these initiatives to be rewarding for both the entity and the individual? » Read more
For many, many adult TCKs, our “aha!” moment when we realized we had a name came as we sat in Dave Pollock’s lecture on The TCK Profile or read one of his early articles about this topic. Although Ruth Useem, sociologist from Michigan State University, coined the term Third Culture Kids in 1960, Dave was the person who translated it from an academic idea to making a difference in the lives of those who were living it.
While living in Kenya near an international school in the 1970s, Dave heard many common themes from the students he interacted with from that school. In time Dave, a master synthesizer of distilling these recurring themes into easily accessible models, created his landmark TCK Profile and one of the first models of transition which he simply called The Transition Experience. When he returned to the States, Dave resumed leadership of an organization called Interaction, Inc. whose purpose was to help organizations sending families overseas to care for them well. He and Paul Nelson chaired the first international conference on matters related to TCKs in October, 1984 in Manila, Philippines. » Read more