As parents there is no question that we have little free time. Between meals, baths, school and the laundry list of daily parenting activities, there is little time to sit down and read the newspaper, let a lone a book for our personal enjoyment. However, there are some books that we have to make time to read. Growing Up Global: Rasing Children to Be At Home in the World is one of those books. I was recently sent a copy to review and cannot praise this book enough. Author, Homa Sabet Tavangar shares budget friendly activities, easy explanations and invaluable tools to help our children understand diversity and develop a global mindset.
Tavangar is married and mother to three girls. She was born in Tehran, raised in Cleveland, and currently resides in Philadelphia. She has lived in a handful of places, including a three-month stay with her children in West Africa. Many of the lessons in Growing Up Global are validated by she and her children’s experiences both home and abroad, in addition to her 20 years experience working with governments, businesses, international organizations and non-profit agencies. Tavangar recognizes many families are unable to travel abroad with the given economy and she provides example after example of budget friendly learning exercises that can be practiced at home.
Below are some of my favorite Tavangar tips for raising globally aware children:
1. Keep the world at your fingertips. Purchase an up-to-date globe and keep it handy for easy reference and/or cover a wall near the kitchen table or other central location with an oversized, laminated world map.
2. Surf the internet. A good start for global kids’ resources is National Geographic’s My Wonderful World page (wonderfulworld.org) and the American Library Association’s “Great Website for Kids” page. (ala.org/greatsites), which can serve as a portal to other safe, updated, and high-quality sites.
3. Find beautiful books. Vibrant coffee-table and kids’ picture books can bring diverse circumstances, people, and emotions to life, for all ages.
4. Enrich your playlists and music collection. As kids’ become accustomed to musical diversity, they adjust to the various sounds, making the genres feel less “foreign” and creating a bridge with new friends from all over the planet.
5. Get passports. Even if you have no budget for international travel, possessing your own passports will put your family in the mind-set of the possible, as a very physical reminder of your world citizenship.
6. Politics vs. People- Make a distinction. It’s hard to be a friend to the human race if we let the politics of governments or a vocal minority color our view of the people of that country or religion.
7. Use the “universal language” of soccer to grow up global. Pick a few international teams to follow based on your heritage, your friend’s, your favorite type of food, the language you want to learn to speak, your favorite jersey, or hundreds of other reasons — get creative! Learn about your teams and players on the FIFA Web site, which includes an interactive world map to help you learn. Organizations like the U.S. Soccer Foundation, BallforAll, Velletri Soccer Group, Grassroot Soccer, UNICEF, in partnership with FIFA at unicef.org/football, and many more can connect your family with global soccer programs that positively impact struggling local communities.
8. Expose your child to foreign languages. Learn to greet in many foreign languages. Make an effort to learn a few words in a foreign language with your kids, even if it’s learning how to say “toilet” in five languages. This could be one of the best investments of your time; it’s a great ice-breaker and your kids will probably do a great job of it.
9. Make Birthday Parties Global. When you’re ready to move beyond Princess, Power Ranger or Pony party themes, consider choices derived from global celebrations: Bastille Day, Cinco de Mayo, Earth Day, Chinese New Year, the World Cup, Olympics….
10. Spice-Up Thanksgiving and your take-out choices. Look to your cultural heritage (or a guest’s) or a favorite ethnic food style. Start slowly by using a new spice or herb, or add a new side dish. When deciding on take-out or choosing a restaurant for a family dinner, try cuisine from a culture that is less familiar to you.
These tips are just a small sample of the hundreds of fabulous ideas Tavangar has for raising a global citizen. Growing Up Global is a guide for all to enjoy and benefit from. While the title states “raising children to be at home in the world,” Tavangar offers tools to help people of all ages, religions and races be at home in the world. Growing up Global is truly an amazing gift to share with loved ones and an Arm Candy Confessions must read.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Growing up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in The World, click here.
Tavangar is a regular contributor to the Growing Up Global Facebook page here.