A little political humor for ya… hehehe
If you’ve followed along with this blog for any length of time, you might have seen that we love to travel. We have had the unique opportunity to live in another country, learn the language and travel a bit while we were abroad. I don’t know if I would have the same outlook on travel if I haven’t had these experiences, but I am so thankful that we did and that my eyes have been opened to the beautiful world God created.
We have been back in American for about a year and a half now. People ask me how we’re doing and while I do love it here, I really miss France. I miss the culture, the people, the schools. I miss the close proximity to other countries & really cool places.
Since living in France and traveling a bit over there, I have learned a few things about why it’s important to expose our kids to other cultures and places. You don’t necessarily have to travel internationally to see these things either. We have enough cultures & beautiful places to visit in the United States without ever leaving! Although I don’t suggest never leaving. 🙂
Expands their worldview
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
~ Mark Twain
How do you see the world and all the cultures and ideas it has to offer and not have it expand your worldview? How do you visit another country, watch how they function and still think that our way is the only way? I don’t think it’s possible! I love that my kids have been exposed to 9 different countries and really see how they do things. I am able to talk through things with them that might not otherwise come up and encourage them to be understanding and accepting of their culture. Even if you don’t agree with something, it’s worth having an open mind about, you never know what you might learn!
Creates a sense of adventure
My kids told me that they miss the airport. Who misses the airport?? People with a sense of adventure and let me tell you, when they said this to me, it made me so happy! And thankfully a couple of weeks later my husband got to take them to The Bahamas for a week vacation. My boys love seeing new things and having new experiences. They will try any kind of food because they know it’s about being open to new things. They know that when we’re in a different culture, they must try things and it’s created a sense of adventure in both of them that I love! How can you help being closed minded when you’re ripping the head off a shrimp to eat it in Sweden? Or trying all 12 appetizers in a Moroccan restaurant in Marrakesh? You just can’t!
Gives them confidence
Traveling is scary. And if you’ve never done it, it’s even scarier. So exposing kids to it at a young age might be scary but it gives them a confidence that is hard to find any other way. When we were in Barcelona, we let the boys navigate the subway system on their own. Now, obviously my husband and I were right there to steer them correctly if they got a stop wrong, but they felt independent and empowered doing it themselves. I have also let them navigate the airports because you really can’t be too lost there! Once you travel a little bit, whether it’s internationally or here in the States, the fear is taken out of the who thing and it gives confidence in a way that is otherwise hard to find.
Helps them be more understanding, compassionate human beings
Can I just say that we need this today? We need this in our world, just more of it across the board. America is a great country and I’m proud to be an American. We’ve done a lot of things right and we have a freedom that isn’t seen in every country across the world. However, we’re not the only country doing things right. We also don’t do everything right. There are a few things we could learn from other countries. We could take a few notes and make a few changes. But most importantly, but can be open, loving and accepting to people that don’t share the same opinions, ideas, or even cultures as we do. Our way — personally and nationally — is not the only way.
When you travel and you see how people function and that it’s different from our own way, you start to see that there are other ways to get things done. You can appreciate what we have here in the states and also see what we could make some changes on. We learn to love other cultures, people, and ways of life because they are real to us. I think a few more Americans could use a nice long trip. Then come back with a new appreciation for what we have and a respect for other cultures & countries doing their thing.
Bottom line – get out there. Take a trip. Don’t let fear win. Be brave and take your kids with you. The more they see, the more they’ll grow. If you can’t go internationally, I totally understand, but try to find somewhere ‘international’ in your neighborhood. We live in a diverse enough country where you can find somewhere to “travel” to without ever leaving!
I hope this inspired you a little today! And remember, loves wins over hate, genuinely listening can get you really far, the example starts with you and they way you treat others & interact with the world. Your kids are looking to you whether you ever leave the country or not. Let’s show them how to love.