A Hesitant Denial

a hesitant denial

A Hesitant Denial

a hesitant denial

The Ask

Have you ever made a hesitant denial and had the outcome be better than you could have imagined?  This spring it happened for me.

Micah wrote to me* a few week before he was scheduled to join me and more than twenty student teachers in Indiana for STAGE’s (Student Teaching And Global Experience) Pre-Experience Orientation (PEO).  This training happens once a semester for the student teachers Interaction International places all over the world. 

As soon as I read the subject of his email, I knew what he wanted.  I knew I needed to make a difficult decision.  Micah wanted permission to miss PEO.

He quickly laid out his life as a Missionary’s Kid (MK).  He grew up in Kenya where his parents serve as dorm parents at an MK boarding school.  Basically, he wanted me to know he spent all his growing up years at an international Christian school.

Before he made his ask, he added that his parents were in town for two weekends–the one when PEO was scheduled and the next, his sister’s wedding. He wanted me to excuse him from the mandatory PEO.

A Hesitant Denial

I struggled with the answer. I know how precious and rare time with family is when spread across different continents. Knowing that they only had two weeks including a wedding made the decision more difficult. I swallowed hard, and told Micah he needed to come to Indiana. 

It was a hesitant denial.  I may have crumbled if he pushed back.  Thankfully, he didn’t.  (Future STAGE students, please don’t get any ideas!)

Being an MK is definitely an advantage to teaching in an international school, but there’s so much more to succeeding in international education than growing up internationally. I knew Micah still needed to  learn so much about teaching internationally from an adult perspective. I also knew Micah’s perspective and experiences would benefit the rest of the student teachers.


As we discussed STAGE’s importance to the Great Commission, transition in schools, the Third Culture Kid (TCK) Profile, grief and loss for the TCK, how to start with the end in mind, and so much more, Micah and his fellow TCKs added so much richness to the training.

Halfway through the first full day of PEO, Micah took me aside.  He thanked me for making him attend.  I confessed to him what a hesitant denial my answer was.

Micah and Sheryl

Micah ended the weekend saying he “found a home at PEO” because he was so understood. If you know TCKs, you know that is a monstrously strong and positive statement. Another TCK concluded, “As a TCK, it was more edifying and therapeutic than informative but that was exactly what I needed.”

Standing Together

Saying, “No” is rarely easy for me.  I’m so glad I wrote my hesitant denial in a firm way.  I’m so glad I don’t stand alone in believing this training is important.

Standing behind my hesitant denial are so many.  The Christian colleges belonging to STAGE understand PEO is important to the formation of their student teachers who will do part or all of their student teaching internationally.  The schools receiving STAGE students know the training they receive at PEO fills in knowledge gaps that don’t exist for those teaching locally.  The students and their parents can see a difference in the way STAGErs function and care.

STAGE makes a difference.

Making a Difference

If you partner with Interaction International, you made a difference–a difference that will keep going. You made it possible for PEO to give Micah a sense of belonging and a sense of being understood. You empowered 21 university students to student teach internationally. You impacted these student teachers and the 100s of MKs and other TCKs they will teach in the fall—and countless others throughout their careers. Your reach is long and deep. Thank you for partnering with us to make a difference.

If you don’t yet partner with Interaction International, you can.  You can make a difference for future PEO classes.  By contributing to Interaction’s General Fund, you make a difference for STAGE students.

Inflation is a real problem for STAGE.  Beyond the costs of placing STAGE students, there are many different costs associated with hosting a weekend training. As the price of everything increases drastically, we’re trying to keep the cost of participation in STAGE from becoming prohibitive.

A gift to the General Fund/Undesignated will allow us to cover our costs without raising our prices.  An unrestricted gift will make a world of difference for a student teacher, their students, and the schools they go to.  Your gift matters.  Please, make a tangible difference and not a hesitant denial.


*Sheryl O’Bryan, Director of STAGE (and a few other things), lover of coffee, and ardent fan of Mr. Bingley.





2 thoughts on “A Hesitant Denial

    1. Thanks, Laura! I’m so glad I got to know Micah–and that he was (eventually) in agreement with my decision.

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