Creating Global Leaders Today
NEWS– You have dreams that your child will become an upstanding individual who embodies a thoughtful, well-informed and passionate character. There are ways you can foster your child’s development into a global citizen. By using a number of resources — whether it be a travel abroad experience or exposure to eye-opening media — you can help your child see all aspects of humanity.
Travel abroad with your children so they can see the wonders of the world firsthand. It is important that children learn that there are many rewards from venturing outside of their comfort zone. For example, if your child is a picky eater and you have a family vacation in a country that is known for their exotic food, they will have to adjust their particular palate and adapt. This simple act of adaptation and acceptance — even within the boundaries of food consumption — is the basis for understanding. The more they try to know, the more conscientious and empathetic they will be of others.
International travel can also highlight social injustices. You can take your child to a country that has clear poverty, and they can see how others who live with so little make the best of life. Have a talk with them about what poverty means. This exposure will help them understand how privileged they are, and that they should use that privilege to help others.
Travel can also teach your child about the idea of perspective. There are many countries rich in fine art and architecture that display an aesthetic representative of a certain time or group of people. They can see that differences can be an important factor in creativity and beauty.
Introduce your child to people from all walks of life. Volunteer at a community center, where your child can meet the many, multi-faceted members of the community. Your child’s involvement with others will help them recognize the common thread within humanity and sharpen their social skills.
You can also introduce your children to an international pen pal. They can correspond with a child of their own age who lives in a place far away from their home. A pen pal will let your child recognize that their customs, relationships and feelings are similar with others who live in a completely different part of the world. Pen pals are a way your child can understand that people are different, but still have many similarities. Kid World Citizen has a list of pen pal programs that you can use to find the perfect pen pal for your kid.
If international travel isn’t a possibility for your family, introduce your child to the world through media. Choose documentaries that cover a range of international topics like history, culture, religion, current events, natural wonders and environmental conditions. Make sure you choose documentaries that are captivating for a younger audience, so they don’t become bored. Common Sense Media has a list of 12 documentaries that will inspire kids to change the world.
Watch the news with your child regularly. Make sure you have an open and honest dialogue after a news report viewing, so you can clarify any questions they may have. The news can be a barrage of negative events, which can jade your child’s view of the world and create a sense of fear. Busy Teacher has a helpful guide for how you can discuss controversial topics with your children. Make sure you balance the good with the bad — choose news shows that strike a healthy balance. Channel One News is an excellent resource, where parents can help kids stay in touch with world events.