I was blessed enough to enjoy a life lived in three countries, 7 cities. Life was spent as a nomad but I subconsciously absorbed different cultures from my surroundings.
My growth as a person was exponential in every city I lived or traveled (so far 10 cities). I won’t say life wasn’t turbulent, after all who wants to migrate back to their home country in duress , but, I would say the experiences made me a much more empathetic person as a whole.
With my children, I constantly try to talk about the many ways in which we are multicultural as a family and how we can learn more about the world.
Let’s be honest though. Not every family has the luxury or the time to travel constantly.
After all, as a parent, you are more busy with schools and classes than planning trips. So how do you explore different cultures as a family?
Visit Local Festivals
Richmond is such a bountiful ground as far as cultural festivals go. From food festivals that serve up delicious fare from countries around the world, to show casing hand made crafts, it is a wonderful way to learn about other cultures. Music and dance are exhibited too. Plus, you see how people from a particular country interact in different ways. Often you find signs on the road, talking about an upcoming Food or Cultural festival. Check it out with your family!
Enjoy Various Cuisines
Being a foodie, this is one of my favorite things about Richmond. We have so many varied food options that are wonderful for the palate, and a great way to introduce kids’ to multicultural environments. Getting kids to try new foods is a challenge in itself, but we can overcome this by making it an adventure.
Learn Basic Words of a New Language
India has 22 official spoken languages. And since I was a kid, I found that the bad words were the easiest to learn. Jokes apart, learning a few basic words from any language gives great insight into how that sub culture is. We are learning Hindi at home and love learning the sign language. Learning sign language specially makes my kids aware of the challenges of the hearing impaired, a culture within itself. My son loved his After School Enrichment classes, where he learned basic French.
Watch Multicultural Shows
Netflix, Youtube and the local library carry many options that you can watch with your kids. Small videos packaged to showcase some aspect of life from a different country.
Take a Fun Class
It would be wonderful to take classes that teach us a few basic things about a different country, sharing the enjoyable aspects of a country. Like this Bollywood Dance workshop in Richmond that offers a little bit about about India and the various dance forms that make up IndiFusion dances.
Have Curious Conversations
There is a fine line between being curious and nosy. If you find something new about a culture, openly ask about it. And be willing to accept their explanation without judgement. Curiosity is often misconstrued as judgement so be open about your ignorance about something and willing to learn. What seems odd to you is very natural to a person from another culture.
Read Diverse Books
Book reading is perhaps the easiest and most enriching way to tour the world from the comfort of your bed or couch. Not only do we learn about the world, but we teach kids to develop a love for reading. Find collections of diverse books such as these or ask your local librarian for recommendations. I find them a treasure trove of information.
All in all, it would be wonderful to introduce our children to learn about the world. Giving them a unique perspective. As with everything, we need to take initiative and lead by example. Be open to admiring everything about the ethnic mosaic that is the world we live in.