Remembering Dave Pollock
Remembering Dave Pollock is a personal and professional exercise for me. Working with Interaction International means I have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of a giant while continuing to care for TCKs all over the world. I know Dave impacted thousands of people during his lifetime. His legacy continues today all over the world.
Seventeen years ago, Dave Pollock passed from our presence. The Pollock family lost their patriarch and the world of Third Culture Kids(TCKs) lost one of its greatest advocates. I lost a friend, cheerleader, and unofficial mentor.
My parents and other family members attended college with Dave and became occasional financial partners with Interaction. My earliest memory of Dave and his ministry at Interaction International was a mimeographed letter. I don’t have any clue what the letter said, but I’m sure it piqued my interest. As a voracious reader fascinated by everything all over the world, Dave’s letters offered me a window into the lives of a people group so like me and so very different from me.
My Move into TCK Care
At Urbana ’87, I responded to the call to go to the nations. After exploring many possibilities, I started my lifework with TCKs. I moved to Cote d’Ivoire and immersed myself in the life and times of TCKs at an MK boarding school. It wasn’t simply a matter of immersing myself in work, I was falling in love with a people group. Dave’s influence was one among many that steered me to TCKs.
Dave and I crossed paths again at Pre-Field Orientation. I loved spending two weeks with him and Betty Lou. Stories flowed from Dave as easily as plants produce oxygen. My existing desire to spend my life investing in TCKs was a flame fanned by PFO–and more particularly by Dave.
Dave visited International Christian Academy many times during my tenure there. Every visit was a treat. I was privileged to hear him speak with high school juniors and seniors about their impending cross-cultural transitions. He brought more than information. Each time Dave came to campus there was a breath of fresh air, an extra oomph that re-energized everyone who heard and interacted with him.
And there was always tea. My friends and I enjoyed a visit over Arabic tea; in general, this was reserved for school breaks when we had time to savor both tea and friendship. Dave’s arrival on campus meant schedules were rearranged because time with him was a priority. We drank four rounds of Arabic tea, listened to a year’s worth of stories, and were filled with the warmth of friendship in the middle of the school week.
One of my favorite tea times with Dave involved a Peace Corps volunteer who stayed with me almost weekly. She is a TCK who grew up in Asia but was unfamiliar with the term. We sat on the mats under the stars as Dave spoke to my friend about mutual friends and favorite places a world away from our corner of Africa. He did this over and over. I never experienced him failing to connect with a TCK.
My next-to-last encounter with Dave came at a pivotal time in my life. A mantle of holy dissatisfaction with life and ministry rode on my shoulders then. I needed an outside perspective from someone who knew me, my circumstances, and the possibilities I might not see. I knew time with Dave would be limited once he arrived on campus. Consequently, I arranged to be his ride to our campus.
Four hours in the car turned into one of the most important conversations of my life. Dave gave me hope, affirmed my gifts and passions, and challenged me to pursue my dreams. Making people feel seen and heard remains one of the greatest gifts he gave to the world after his family and his work with and for TCKs.
Seventeen years after we lost Dave’s presence, innumerable TCK caregivers all over the world continue the work he started. I am thankful I am one of them.
Written by Sheryl O’Bryan, Director of TCK Services