Like many Americans, the recent election has left me reeling and I haven’t posted about our recent travels because it just feels frivolous in light of all that is going on in the world right now. But the more I think about, it’s never been so important for us to continue to travel with our children and to hopefully inspire you to do the same if you aren’t already.
Traveling with kids is one of the best ways to raise our children to be global citizens and to foster tolerance and understanding for this future generation. Seeing people of different ethnicities, cultures, and religions also ‘normalizes’ our differences and teaches children to be curious and open minded about people who are different than themselves rather than to fear those differences.
Of course we have seen some amazing sights and beautiful landscapes in our travels, but the thing that makes traveling most special is the people you meet. When we explore other cultures we find that we are more alike than different-we all love our children and we all want to leave this world a better place for them. Some of my fondest travel memories have been grown men cooing over my babies in Turkey, a Thai woman who played with my son for an hour on the beach helping him build sand castles and find seashells, a Spanish waiter who carried my infant son around for our entire meal so we could eat in peace-and I could go on and on. Children connect us and allow us to see a softer side of a place-they allow us to see how much goodness and kindness there is in the world.
We will continue to travel with our kids in order to teach them the most important lessons in life because clearly what we all need now is a little more tolerance, understanding, and compassion for one another.
And if you can’t travel, you can do the next best thing-read! Read with your children about different cultures and about diversity. I’m personally making a list of children’s books that celebrate diversity that Santa will be bringing this year. A few on my list:
- Let’s Talk about Race by Julius Lester- This book talks about race and how all people deserve to be treated with respect and kindness-a message we all need to be sharing at home right now.
- The Peace Book and It’s Ok to Be Different both by Todd Parr- We love Todd Parr around here. The illustrations are colorful and bold and the messages of his stories are great.
- The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss- a classic Dr. Seuss story with important moral lessons about tolerance, diversity, and fear of the unknown.
- You and Me Together: Moms, Dads, and Kids Around the World by National Geographic-Take a look at everyday family life around the world.
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox- We already own this one, but it is one of my favorites. Beautifully written and illustrated-I get teary every time I read it because the message is so powerful.
For me, there is nothing more important to teach my children than the values of kindness, tolerance, and empathy. When I feel paralyzed with fear of the hate that seems so prevalent in our world or inadequate for not doing enough, I remind myself that my job right now could not be more important-to pour myself into raising kind, tolerant, global thinkers.
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that
in diversity there is beauty and strength.”