Not every family can take time off or afford to travel the world, but we can all teach our children to know and respect the geography and cultures around the world.
Ways to open up the world
I recently read an article by Lindsey Roberts outlining ways to enhance these experiences for our children and thought I would share it with you this week.
Read around the world. Focus on one area of the globe each month — Africa, Europe, North America and so on — reading age-appropriate books and stories about those regions.
Decorate your home with maps. You can buy beautiful maps, globes and atlases. You can also buy stick-on map decals for the wall. Anytime you encounter a place in a book or hear from a relative travelling abroad or talk about a country in the news, you can locate the place on the map. Usecolouredpins to mark them.
Try international foods. Try to eat every type of cuisine you can. Night markets often have a range of ethnic foods, usually reasonably priced. Choose from the international sections of the supermarket to cook new recipes. Visit an Asian or Middle Eastern supermarket and see what you can discover. Invite friends from different cultures to cook for you or teach you some recipes. Use the maps to show the family where people eat these foods.
Use the mail. A pen pal can not only provide a glimpse into another country but can turn into a lifelong friendship or passion. The borders in children’s minds will start to expand as they bond with someone from another country.
Sponsor a child. Families can give money to help a child out of poverty such as those we sponsor through our Kantolomba “Light up Ahead School”. Make it a family project that everyone contributes to. Discuss the other child’s home country and culture, and the challenges they face.
Invite neighbours into your home. Often, we don’t have to travel further than our neighbourhood to find other cultures. Greet neighbours from different backgrounds. Learn to say hello in their language and show friendship. They are often eager to make friends in their new country and everyone benefits from breaking down barriers.
These are all simply starting points for talking more with your children about the world outside your home and how your family interacts with that world.
The world is a wondrous place. It’s by getting outside of ourselves that we can really get to know what’s inside of ourselves, what’s inside of each and every person on our planet: a longing for love, connection, happiness, peace.
“But the stranger that dwells with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34