Is World Culture learning REALLY that important?

I know, I know, mommas in this generation are pressured with beautiful “pinterest parties”, a kindergartener who already knows their ABC’s and is SUPER smart… and the list goes on! So why would I even dare to suggest adding ONE more thing to the to do list?

I feel that in this world that is ever changing, it is also becoming a mean/scary place to grow up in. This is mostly due to all of the hate and offense that is seen plastered in news stories. It is my hope to spread a hope or light of empathy!

Here are other great reasons why I am teaching my children about the different world cultures that are out there:

1. Learning about different cultures can be FUN

You don’t have to make it boring and dull like that history class that you just hated. Fun learning tools can be integrated to make it more of a hands on learning experience for children. Personally I think it is really fun to see how the people dress, what traditional music sounds like in that area and what the buildings look like. I have even found fun ideas from learning how different holidays or special days are celebrated.

The best part is, you can modify it according to the ages or interests of those who will be participating in these learning activities. I have even created a sample week guide that you can use to smoothly integrate it into your daily life.

2. Teaches a child to have an open mind

Sometimes we grow up learning a certain way to do something that it seems as if that is the only way to do that. Learning about different cultures, children begin to understand that there are many ways to do something. For example, here in the United States we typically eat a meal sitting in chairs around a table. In other areas it may be more common to sit on cushions at a low table.

Learning about the awesome culture and taking a night to taste test the food from that area can be fun and beneficial. Children will learn that trying new things, although scary, isn’t too bad.

Open minded people are more likely to be accepting of learning new things. If your lucky, it can be just the thing to plant that seed of  desire to continue learning!

3. Acceptance

It breaks my heart to hear of stories where children are bullied or don’t have friends at school because they are different. What if we could change this? What if we start teaching our children at a young age that people might have many differences from us (background, skin color, disability, language, etc) but they are still a person.

It is my hope to teach this empathy and kindness to my children so they will embrace diversity. Everyone needs a friend!!

4. Gratitude

I never realized how blessed I truly was until I left the comforts of home and lived in Chile for a year and a half. You can’t just send your 5 year old to live in another country but you can show them how others live. Helping them see and understand that some places don’t have running water available in their homes can help them be grateful that they do!

I ran into a quote a while back that really resonated with me:

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Melody Beattie

It is easy for children to get so wrapped up in WANTS as they trip over the piles of toys that cover their playrooms that they lose sight of what they HAVE. Let’s raise a more grateful generation!

5. The Intentional Parent

I find it interesting that this word, intentional, has been be- bopping around (more so in January — goal time). We live in a time where technology is EVERYWHERE and this may be the reason this word has become common. Are you one of those parents who has discovered that the TV or the iPad, tablet, etc seem to be fantastic babysitters? Have you also discovered that you, like I am guilty of, have quite possibly over used these devices as the family nanny?

I won’t shame the guilty (i’m one of them) but instead shed light on what I have experienced. In the short experience that I have had being more involved in my toddler’s learning I have learned that it is WELL WORTH MY TIME.

The time we spend together is special bonding time because we are both learning great things from one another. He is teaching me patience and seeing things in a new light while he is soaking up every new and exciting thing I attempt to teach him. I hope that these moments will also build the trust that will be crucial in pre-teen/teen years. When a child feels confident that they can ask their parent a question they will be more willing to continue to seek answers from the parent rather than other sources.

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What experiences have you had teaching your children about different world cultures? Share below!

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