One of our goals as parents is to expose our children to new things, cultures and places. Doing this fosters a well-rounded adult who has cultural empathy and is opened to trying new things. One of the things I loved doing with my son was trying new foods. We tried everything from sushi to couscous. Sometimes we would get books related to the cultures of the foods other times I would see something in the store and I would get it for him to try. Many times I hadn’t even had the foods and I also learned that I liked them as well. I would even purchase foods that I didn’t like for him to try. I realized that just because I didn’t like them didn’t mean that he wouldn’t like them. This was one of my ways of helping to develop in him an opened mind. I would often take my son to places that I didn’t frequent such as certain museums and parks. I ensured that he had opportunities that I did have growing up. For example, I still have never been
camping to this day, however, my son has, twice. We as parents want better for our children than what we had and this isn’t always about money and lifestyle. It also includes exposure. Growing up, I was not read to regularly. With my son, I decided that I would read with him regularly before he went to bed and this continue until he was in the 7th grade. Some of the books we would get were cultural because I wanted to expose him to different cultures and places where I wasn’t able to take him. I often let his interests guide our book choices and places we went.
My son is now 23 years old and he is very opened to trying new things and taking healthy risks. We went to Egypt two years ago and he was opened to riding a camel, to going to the lower level of a pyramid and to trying Egyptian foods. I am very proud of the man he is becoming.

As a teacher, it saddens me when I encounter students who have never been out of their neighborhoods and I have met many. Here are some ways to expose your children to other things:

  • Explore media from other cultures
  • Attend festivals & celebrations
  • Go to the library – they often have cultural programs in addition to media and books
  • Take a class
  • Join a diverse play group
  • Allow children to ask questions
  • Teach them how to listen
  • Take day trips & vacations
  • Take virtual tours of places & museums
  • Cook something new together

So, in closing, be opened to exposing your child to all that you can. There are many opportunities all around you. Trust me, they will be a better adult for it.

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