When someone asks me who I would like to share a meal with if I could choose anyone (dead or alive), I say: Mahatma Gandhi. Not only would I meet my all-time hero and be able to soak in his grace, wisdom and vision, but I am sure we would also be served a lovely vegetarian Indian curry! My favourite Gandhi-quote is
You must be the change you want to see in the world.
We need more tolerance in this one world we all share. As parents we can be the change we want to see not only by changing ourselves, but by making sure that our children grow up to become responsible world citizens.
Today I am taking part in the A-Z of Raising Global Citizens series, which brings you tips and advice from 24 bloggers across the world on how to bring up open-minded, globally aware kids, a topic very close to my heart. My letter is L, so the natural choice of word for me is: LANGUAGE
Knowing another language gives you instant access to another culture and you can much more easily make contact with someone in a different country or even on another continent if you can speak their language.
However, you do not have to be fluent or even be able to lead a conversation in a language to reap the benefits of broadening your and your children’s horizons with the help of a new language!
Show a positive attitude towards foreign languages and the speakers of them
As parents we are role models for our children, not only in what we tell them and show them but even more importantly in how we behave ourselves. If we have a positive attitude towards other languages and show a genuine interest in them and the speakers of these language, our children will feel the same.
Pick up some words or a phrase in a new language
If you are visiting another country, learn some words and phrases, which you and your kids can use with the locals. The same applies if you just go somewhere in your own neighbourhood where there are people with a different mother tongue to yours. Find out how to say “Thank you!” in the language your corner shop owner speaks – then say it! Together, learn the word for “Hello!” in the language of the new girl in your child’s class and ask your child to greet her. You can use it as an ice breaker to connect with her parents! One word can mean so much and can be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Learn a language together with your child
How many times have I heard adults say “I would love to learn a new language!” – why not actually do it, alongside your child? If you feel that it is overwhelming, start with words that are similar in your own language (you will find some overlaps with most languages). Learn the phrases you use in your day-to-day life at home and use them to communicate with your children.
Watch foreign films and cartoons with subtitles
If your children can read, when you watch a film as a family, why not choose a foreign one with subtitles? If you listen carefully, you will be able to pick up some words. Kids love cartoons in any language, so try some in other languages!
Take part in multicultural events
Whenever there is a chance to participate in multicultural events where you can hear several different languages spoken, do not miss this chance of getting to know new cultures – and more often than not, get some new taste bud experiences as well!
May the peace and power be with you.
© Rita Rosenback 2015
I really enjoy reading your posts – always so straight to the point and a lot of practical advice! Language plays such a special part in raising global citizens! Thank you for participating!
Thank you for your kind comment, Varya! Straight to the point, that’s me alright! It’s my Nordic heritage making itself known 🙂 Thank you for organising this series!