|Article first published as Steps to Help Raise Globally Sensitive Children on Blogcritics.|
Would you like your children to grow up knowing about other cultures? If you answered yes, here are a few things you can do to help your children become globally sensitive.
Firstly, enroll your child in a foreign language class. It is a very good idea to expose your children to a foreign language at an early age. The study of a foreign language will teach your child not only the language but about the culture of that country. There are many long term benefits in doing this. Statistics have shown that the earlier you learn a language, the easier it is for an individual to master that language.
A child who starts language learning early on will do much better in that language when he or she is ready to attend high school. Many colleges require a minimum of three years of a foreign language before you can be considered for admittance. Additionally, a student with prior language exposure will be able to take advanced placement level classes by the time he or she is a senior. A student taking AP classes can accrue college credits while in high school. My niece graduated from college in three years because she took AP classes while in high school.
Secondly, if you have the financial means visit a foreign country. Travelling can open a brand new world to children, thus opening the doors to see from firsthand experience what other people are like. Another option is perhaps going on a mission trip with a church group. A mission trip is real eye opener not only for children but for adults too.
Thirdly, you can bring another culture and country into your child’s life without leaving your home by sponsoring an exchange student. There are agencies that will help you locate a suitable student to help meet your specific needs. There are even grant programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. International educational exchange is the best way to foster mutual understanding between people around the world. I lived with a French family in France; I still keep in touch with them to this day. My daughter recently returned from spending the semester in Lausanne, Switzerland. After her semester of studies ended, she visited with my former host family for two weeks.
My daughter helped expand my former host family’s English language skills and understanding of American culture while she learned about the French way of life. No textbook or movie can do this as effectively as being there in person.
Raising globally responsible children can be a fun adventure. I believe everyone will benefit from this important endeavor. In the end we can find joy and peace in knowing we have done our part in making the world a much better place for future generations.