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Are you exposing your kids to other cultures?

We attended a baptism in the Greek Orthodox church on Sunday. It was the first time my kids and I had ever been in a Greek Orthodox church. It was the first baptism they had been too so it was a bit of an educational event as well. Kiara, in particular, had a lot of questions about the religion itself.

It got me thinking about how exposed I was, growing up, to other cultures and I realised that I wasn’t really. I think it was largely due to the fact that I grew up during apartheid South Africa, so there was already a very clear divide between black and white and Durban isn’t really the most diverse province we have, even now.

Fast forward to today and without even really trying to hard my children have been exposed to a wider range of cultures in their 12 years than I have in my 36. Cameron goes to school with many of the diplomat children, so he is surrounded by children from all over the world. David works very closely with a gentlemen from Nigeria who we had around for dinner recently and he chatted to us about how things are done in Nigeria, in particular in families. Through blogging I have met people from all walks of life who have become close friends, which means my children have been exposed to a variety of cultures and traditions.

One of the definite advantages of the digital age we live in is that we are, and by default our children too, exposed to so much more in terms of cultures and lifestyles than we were before. Our social circles are bigger and more diverse. In my social circle alone there are Black people, Coloured people, Greek people, Catholics, Afrikaans people, people who have adopted, gay people, people from other countries, divorced people, single people, Jewish people, mixed couples and more.

To be hones this isn’t really a part of my parenting I have given much thought to because it has just happened but it is actually something I think is important, making sure our children are exposed to as many different cultures and traditions as possible. Having an understanding of a culture builds tolerance and a realisation that while we may be different religions or colours we share many of the same beliefs.

Is this something you actively try to do? Or is it more passive (like we have been)?

How important is exposing your children to other cultures?

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. 10 November, 2014 / 2:47 pm

    I think these things happen much easier today. They were exposed to a lot in our litle Catholic nursery school but now in the Afrikaans school it is obviously less so.

  2. 10 November, 2014 / 8:30 pm

    This is something we’re very intentional about. When we looked at pre-schools, the columns on my spreadsheet had the normal things like times, price, etc. but also how diverse it was. We’ve consciously veered away from schools that were too one colour to schools that are more diverse.

    Laura, one extra thing I think we should mention is the different socio-economic classes. But maybe this is taking it too far for this post? I also want my kids exposed to those who have more than they do,and those who have less. I don’t want them thinking that it’s “normal” to live like the 1% of people in the world, especially being a South African.

    PS i know I owe you an email. It’s on the list πŸ™‚

  3. 10 November, 2014 / 8:40 pm

    I have always been exposed to different races and cultures (through extramural activities since I went to a “coloured school”) I think it was good because it changed the way I interact with people so when I enrolled aidy in educare I actively looked for one with kids from different backgrounds and I really lucked out….its like he attends mini UN every day

  4. Chan
    11 November, 2014 / 7:41 am

    “Durban isn’t really the most diverse province ” Say what?!?!?!?! LOL Durban is very diverse!!!!

    I’ve lived here my whole life, and from grade 1 I’ve had black friends, coloured friends, indian friends and afrikaans friends. Outside of India the largest population of indians is in Durban. I had muslim, hindi and tamil friends growing up. In high school my closest friends were an immigrant from Shanghai, one from Taiwan, and a south african born chinese, and a hare krsna indian πŸ™‚ I got to experience afrikaans culture alot as a really good friend growing up was my afrikaans next door neighbour. I am white, in 1989 and 1990 I used to go to Umlazi to visit my friend at her house, after apartheid ended they moved πŸ˜› I think you’re wrong by saying Durban isn’t diverse, I grew up during Apartheid and had way more non-white friends than white. It just depends on how our parents raised us I think….I have met many white people here in Durban who only mixed with whites before apartheid ended and let’s just say some of them bug me alot, and I’m thankful I was raised differently and experienced different cultures and religions.

  5. 11 November, 2014 / 11:21 am

    Logan was definitely more exposed to different cultures in the English school. I don’t think the Afrikaans school means to be closed up to other cultures, it is just how things happen.

    I don’t focus on culture difference per se, but I do focus on difference between individuals and the fact that we should respect everyone.

  6. 13 November, 2014 / 10:44 am

    We aren’t very intentional about it, but that said, we mix with a lot of different people (at their schools, work, church, friends) and make sure that we treat everyone the same. So it’s been OK so far.

  7. 13 November, 2014 / 11:31 am

    I look at my grandchildren and to them it is totally natural to be around people from other cultures…their lives will be so much richer because of it.

  8. 16 November, 2014 / 5:39 pm

    Not intentional about it at all. It kind of just happens naturally. That said, for various reasons, I am MORE intentional about exposing them to poverty.

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