J Simens.com

She’s a cow – Are these words you want to hear about your daughter?

school counselorsDoes your child stand out like at “cow” in her new school?

Questions to ask your TCK or CCK!  As an expat student moving to a new school, how do you stand out amongst the vast sea of other students? How do you get potential friends to pick you over others? You need to be remarkable. Being academically good is, well, not good enough. You need to be the purple cow.

What color are you?

The purple what? The purple cow means someone who is out of the ordinary. In a pasture, a purple cow would stand out from the rest; you’d immediately notice the cow. A purple cow garners attention. When your child is a new student to a school, he or she deserves recognition. As a parent, we hope this is positive attention.

The term purple cow came from the title of a poem written by Gelett Burgess in 1895 but was popularized more recently by Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow.

Things that new students can do to draw friends to seek them out

According to my children

  • Your face says it all, even if you are nervous a smile can go a long way.
  • Don’t cling to the first person that says hello to you.
  • Never have an opinion of a teacher, kid or school event the first two weeks, give yourself time to see what matters. Being quick to have an opinion might isolate you from some great friends.

 For your older children:

Here is a short set of ideas on presenting yourself to a new school in a more remarkable way, thus grabbing everyone’s attention and separating yourself from others in your class.

  • Have a unique, but honest way to greet people. If you have a lovely Spanish accent, welcome them in Spanish even if you are from Tokyo.
  • Wear a discrete necklace or bracelet from your past “home” so it is a conversation piece. Wearing your name in hieroglyphics might get you a friend.
  • Tape postcards from your favorite places on the front of your notebooks, so it shows your name and the locations that you love to visit. An excellent way to connect with other students.

These ideas assume your child is already proficient with making friends if they are not, then improving their basic skills should take priority because it does them no good to try new things if they can’t make eye contact, smile and be interested in other students.

PS on a personal note:  If your child asks for a horse – they want a horse! I was lucky enough to grow up in Kansas and if we wanted a horse…we got a horse. I got Mr. Brown one snowy Christmas morning. I never asked for a purple cow.


  • jsimens
    March 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Tried to tell a child (age 8 ) about the purple cow…she told me, I think I am an purple cow but I might be "pink"!