In the past ten days, I had two opportunities to speak on the topic of ‘Third Culture Kids and Relocation’ and promote my book. After so many years of researching the topic, and working on B’s and Emma’s journey, it’s very exciting to extend the conversations I’ve had within smaller groups of friends and colleagues to the next level.
However, as much as my family and friends can attest to the fact that I don’t shy away from talking about issues I feel strongly about, public speaking is not my forte. Yet. I keep telling my eight-year-old students they should never say that they are not good at something. After all, to become good at something you need to practice. “What did you say? You’re not good at math? You will be, you’re just not good it at yet.”
On a side note, when I try to apply that to other areas of my life, I should admit there are some things I have tried to get better at, but I’m still not. Some, because I should probably just keep trying (cooking and gardening come to mind). Others, because it’s just never going to happen. I really tried (rock climbing, basketball, and dancing to the rhythm). However, if I have learned to happily stand in front of class of eight-year-olds, I should be able to learn to do so in a room full of adults.
For the first presentation for parents, I was lucky enough to co-present with two fabulous and experienced experts on the topic of Third Culture Kids and relocation: Anne-Claude Lambelet, Intercultural Competence Expert (Here I go) and Melissa Dalton-Bradford, the ‘Stabilizing Axis’ and author of Global Mom: A Memoir (Melissa Writes of Passage). Being sandwiched between these two professional speakers definitely made it easier.
Left to right: Anne-Claude Lambelet, Melissa Dalton-Bradford, Valérie Besanceney (picture courtesy of Melissa Dalton-Bradford)
For the next presentation, for colleagues, I was on my own, but having done the presentation the week before, I already felt more comfortable. Most importantly, both events confirmed my belief that sharing information on helping children transition is worthwhile. The conversations sparked by both presentations were meaningful and powerful. Not only did they encourage us to rethink how we can help our children and students, but they also allowed us to take moment to reevaluate our own constantly mobile lives.
I was also reminded how connected we are by this element of a third culture that resonates with most of us in the international community. We all have our own stories, we are all a unique blend of cultures, and nobody knows for certain what will come next. Luckily, knowing that many people around us feel exactly the same way makes it a little easier.
As an added bonus, I managed to sell the box of books I had, and many of them were bought specifically for children and families who are about to embark on yet another transition. By reading about Emma’s and B’s journey, I do hope it will make their own a little easier.
Apart from being happy with the result of both events, they have also encouraged me to continue to work on my public speaking skills and have me excited to order more books! Meanwhile, I am going to try do a little more cooking or gardening (while dancing non-rhythmically along to it all because dancing just makes me happy). If you managed to read through this entire post, I’d like to leave you with this video, completely off the topic of TCKs and public speaking, but which inspired me so much and reminded me that, no matter what your age is, it’s never a good time to give up on yourself and always a good time to start trying something new.
Watch video: Neal Unger: 60-year-old skateboarder