” I am American”, my son often says specially when we do our Hindi lessons or during a festival when he has to try a new food. And it bothers me! Not because I do not want him to be proud of his citizenship but I want him to be aware of the many cultures one can be part of in spite of living in one country. I am parenting children who are growing up in world that is exploding with diverse cultures.
Who knows better than me the struggle one feels in trying to figure out where you are and where you are from. For the longest time I thought I was the “Girl from no where.”
I love India for gifting me my rich heritage, the festivals and the cultural diversity I am able to learn from even though I do not “fit into” a particular state’s culture/language which excludes me from enjoying the community that many Indians so naturally benefit from.
My love for Kuwait comes from the happy childhood, facilities, education, above all the many life long friendships I have enjoyed. Even though I can never be a citizen or have equal rights/respect as one.
USA is where my marriage began. Richmond is where my two children came into this world. It is our home. My husband and I love the size of the city and the people and the many things to do locally and around. Yet many immigrants like me are not sure of how the atmosphere will be tomorrow.
I am bilingual. English is my first language. Hindi my second. But around me most people know three or more languages. Most of my life I have stubbornly demanded translations. On the plus side, I understand Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Urdu, some Arabic and most of the swear words in Tamil and Malayalam. After kids being born and being introduced to Dora, I know some Spanish too.
Coming from a Hindu, Rajput family I celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Lohri and Onam with equal aplomb as Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Rakhi. I take life lessons from as many cultures/religions as I can and try to teach my children the same. As we have grown as a family I take immense pride in celebrating every holiday/festival there is with my children as we learn more about the world together.
Being a foodie, I love a barbeque or meatloaf as much as vegetarian Gujarati Thaali. My friends make fun of me saying I was probably a South Indian or Goan in my past life in reference to how much I love non vegetarian food.
Raising My children
Once I had kids and started growing with them, my perception changed. I have now realized it is due to the many cultures I have experienced is why I have a broad world view and confidence in who I really am. It is why my kids get to experience a spectrum of food and fun. Thanks to the amazing people surrounding us, my children get to witness colorful diversity in their daily life. I have now realized we don’t ever have to “belong” to one place. Nor should we. I am not the girl from no where. Because we belong everywhere.
I have always proudly worn my made up Kuwaiti/Indian/American culture in my mindset and have now imbibed the festivities, food or etiquette into my home celebrating every facet of them with my children.
I only hope to pass on this healthy attitude into my children to enable them to not feel so out of place early in life. I have a fine line to walk in parenting teaching them about their heritage while at the same time understanding that the many cultures they come across daily are different and similar in many ways.
Raising World Children – The Web Magazine
We all live in our perceived bubbles. Made up of our commitments, kids, kids classes, culture, language, city or country. Life is so much more than that.
After my son joined school I realized how little I know about the history of the world. We had Kuwait Social Studies and Indian history in school that at most covered world war but I do not know anything of the struggles of the African American community or the legend of people such as George Washington or Martin Luther King.
I don’t want my children to see life from one country’s vantage point. I want us to experience the world. People often say travel is a great way to expose kids to world cultures. With the many responsibilities we have and specially with families like ours where we travel to Kuwait one year and India the next, working in an exotic location into our travel plans is practically impossible.
Cultures change every two hours of travel. The food, the air, the places to see, the thinking. Even if you visit a place, you cannot possibly know the real life of the people there. We cannot all possibly see it all but we can read or share it with others out there who desire to learn more.
I recently wrote an article for Richmond Moms Blog which got me thinking. What if there was a platform for everyone from around the world sharing what their life is like.
- About how a culture affects a life/parenting.
- The struggles people of a region face in their day to day life.
- Guides about food, travel, health, parenting multi cultural kids.
- Kids sharing what they think about life.
- Folk lore famous in specific cultures.
- Historical figures from around the world.
- A place to see what different cities actually look like.
That is what led me to conceptualize Raising World Children. An online magazine that is bringing together voices from around the world to one place. We announced two weeks ago. 60+ writers have graciously agreed to share their life to help us all grow together.
More than the amazingly positive feedback and support I have gotten, I cannot wait for you to introduce you to the talented, strong people I have met with wonderful lives and stories to share.
Not everyone is a writer and that is where my years of experience in writing comes in as I help polish individual stories.
How You or Your Children Can Contribute
If you would like to contribute photographs/articles to the above please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or aditi.ws@gmail with the subject line RwC to receive your writing guidelines.
Writing prompts and Craft themes for children were announced in the first week of April. We encourage you have your children participate. Nurture kids’ creativity and thought process by featuring them on this global platform.
We are after all one world raising world children. Children who belong not just to one country, one culture. Children who are from everywhere.