Raising world changers is a daunting task. As parents, our job is to teach our children that there other cultures beyond our own and that these cultures deserve appreciation, respect, and dignity. Of course, a great way to experience other cultures is of to travel, but many families are unable to make that work. However, there are plenty of other ways for your world changers to learn about other cultures without having to hop on a plane.
Read one of the books we’ve recommended. In our past pieces on raising world changers, we’ve recommended several books (for all ages) that explain the refugee situation. Any one of these books will give your family an insight to the world outside your home. Aside from these titles, you could also read nonfiction texts about a region or find a beautiful photography book that captures images of the region. For instance, Lens on Syria: A Photographic Tour of Its Ancient and Modern Culture, provides a lovely collection of photos of modern and ancient Syria.
Visit any city and you will find a plethora of authentic world cuisine, which is a wonderful way to experience another culture through its food and customs. Eating at a restaurant goes beyond merely tasting the food because the food of a region often tells a story of its people and culture. Learning about why the food is prepared a certain way or why a particular dish is so important to a group of people gives you a peek into a world that is most likely different from your own. Once you begin to understand these perspectives, you can begin to appreciate the culture even more.
If there are no authentic cuisine restaurants in your area, find a cookbook and make it yourself. Many libraries have huge sections filled with cookbooks. Not only will this give you the experience of understanding how the food is prepared but it may also push you to visit some new places in your town. For instance, you may need to go to a specialty store to find certain ingredients. No matter what you’re cooking, or how it turns out, you will be pushing yourself and your world changer to learn about the world. (For a great resource on Burmese recipes including sauces, soups, and desserts, click here.)
4) Find the Culture
Whether it’s a grocery store, community center, art museum, or farmers’ market, find the culture in your area and join in. Many multicultural groups are eager for other members of their community to get involved so that they can build a spirit of unity and understanding. You never know, you may make a life-long friend in the process.
5) Prepare for the Future
Maybe you are unable to travel the world now, but that might not always be the case. If you know a place you’d love to visit, start preparing now by learning a new language. Your family can work together by quizzing each other and having conversations in your new language. Then, when you are able to visit, you will be able to communicate and get an even greater insight into the culture. For a great resource that’s free, try the Duolingo app.
6) Take a Virtual Trip
Once your child knows a little bit about another country or culture, do some exploring to visit famous landmarks and beautiful scenery. Google Earth is a great way to take a trip to a faraway place. You can stand at the base of the Eiffel Tower or visit Petra and the Dead Sea. Additionally, there are many television programs that help us “travel the world” from home. Whether you are searching for shows about food, culture, or wildlife around the world, you’ll be sure to find something that meets your interests. Check out Planet Earth, Bizarre Foods, Human Planet, and Wild Kratts, for starters.
If you want your world changers to gain a worldview that actually accounts for the world, you must help shape their perspective. Even through the smallest things, such as food, books, or language, we can show our world changers that other cultures exist beyond our own and that those cultures deserve our appreciation.
Written by Gwen Skar