TCKs (third culture kids) and their parents have a slowly-growing list of resources to use as they navigate their very unique world. This year, an amazing help was added from an unlikely source: a Disney Pixar film.
You’ve probably heard a lot about “Inside Out.” How it’s ambitious, how it’s really a film for adults, how it’s a tearjerker. That may all be true, but it’s also a deeply helpful tool for TCKs and their parents as they face transition and grief.
The quick version of the story is that 11-year-old Riley and her parents have just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. While Riley faces the challenges of this change, her personified emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust) are facing turmoil and chaos of their own inside her head. The plot isn’t that complicated, but the emotions are, and that’s the beauty of viewing this film as a TCK family.
The emotions of transition
First of all, the movie resonates with TCKs because it takes place as Riley and her family are dealing with transition. Riley has been lifted out of her familiar life in Minnesota, where she had a best friend and was a star player for the hockey team. Now she’s in San Francisco, where she’s the new girl, and feeling lost.
It’s fascinating to see how the movie portrays the different emotions of transition. During this time, Joy is gone, and the major components of Riley’s personality are crumbling. Fear, Disgust, and Anger literally take control of Riley, and she’s no longer the goofy, cheerful girl she was in Minnesota. It’s not a stretch to say similar things happen when our TCKs are going through major changes.