It was an issue we had to address before we left the states. We looked at it from every angle. But all we could see was high-water pants, bowl hair cuts, and a serious lack of social skills. Yeah, we’re talking about missionary kids.
We had to admit that we were sincerely jeopardizing our kids cool factor by taking them out of the suburbs they had grown up in. Like all wild animals, we knew that it would be impossible to return them to their natural habitat once they grew accustomed to living elsewhere. What would happen to our free thinking, long haired, trash talking boys in a super conservative Christian school? And, would they ever be able to relate to their own kind again? Were our kids doomed to a lifetime of wearing too-short shorts and tucked in polos? Would they ever know pop culture and hip music? Or would they become hopelessly enthralled with mariachi and entangled in the tawdry stories of the telenovelas? Who could say. It was a risk we would have to take.
14 months into our Latin American life, I can tell you this much: My children are the coolest missionary kids I have ever met. True, they are different from other kids their age. They know that a visa is not a credit card, they complain in two languages, and they occasionally ask about the current exchange rate. But, at the same time they are remarkably “normal” – they’re obsessed with video games, they wish they could eat McDonalds three times a day, and they use borderline bad words (“freakin”, “hecka” , and “what the crap”) when they think I can’t hear them.