By Homa S. Tavangar, author
I'm delighted to share ideas from Growing Up Global with the Persian community.
Many of you are some of the most globally-minded people found anywhere.
Some of this was by choice, and for others, it was forced by the necessity of leaving your homeland. It's amazing to think that just one or two generations ago millions of Iranians had never met a person from a different continent or race; and today we are successfully integrated into diverse cultures all over the world. Now that we have a sense of global citizenship, we want our children to thrive in a globally connected world.
I wrote Growing Up Global to offer a toolbox of resources and ideas to begin that process - and now it is taking off in schools, at work and in conversations at dinner tables. Particularly for the Persian community, I share stories from my own family's experience as new immigrants to the U.S.
during my childhood and ways we navigated our Iranian identity along with our new American one. In the end, we make peace with the juxtaposition of values, beliefs and cultures through a lens of global citizenship, and this has been one of the greatest gifts we are passing along to our children.
Below is an article I wrote that was just posted on PBS Parents. What has been your experience in connecting with the larger world, and in navigating across cultures? Has your family (or children's schools) tried any of the ideas from Growing Up Global? I'd love to hear your comments and experiences! Thank you!!
My family is lucky to live in a neighborhood with dozens of school-aged kids, where a lemonade stand often springs up on a clear day. Most parents passing by will try to stop, if only because we know our own children will be itching for an entrepreneurial moment soon themselves. We tip more generously when the proceeds will benefit charity. Increasingly, the six- or eight year-olds might be earning quarters to cure cancer, rebuild Haiti or buy school supplies for kids across town or in a country whose name they can barely pronounce.
The example of children mobilizing for a cause beyond their circumstances demonstrates their readiness to embrace a global mindset. With encouragement and good examples at home and in their community, qualities like compassion, generosity, and practicing the Golden Rule become standards they wish to strive toward, and which put substance behind what it means to be a global citizen.
The notion of global citizenship becomes clearer when I recall the ethic, "Be a friend to the whole human race." Friendship is a universal value - it's important to everyone, and it can be fun. Envisioning this on a wider scale ("to the whole human race"), discussing it, and practicing it in daily life serve as simple, yet powerful tools for raising a new generation to be well-adjusted and peaceful, and ultimately, successful and happy.
We learn what we see.
As a parent, your own willingness to try a new food, learn about another faith, genuinely befriend diverse colleagues and neighbors, or embarrass yourself trying to express ideas in a different language will leave an impression on your children, and they'll be better for it. We're more plugged in than ever, but not necessarily more connected. So, striving to be a friend to the whole human race - starting at home - can be a huge challenge, but also makes a great gift for our children, and an awesome adventure.
To get started with your own family, try one or more of these ideas - in whatever way works best for your own circumstances and interests:
I'd love to hear about your own experiences. What challenges, dilemmas, or opportunities have you encountered in raising little global citizens, or just trying to be one yourself?
If you'd like to know more, look for a copy of Growing Up Global at your local library or bookstore.
... Payvand News - 09/22/10 ... --