Be Global In Your Local
Raising Global Kids in Our Global World
By Lorie Lee
We live in a global world. Stop and think about what you are wearing. What percentage is actually made in the U.S.? Before you pick up that coffee or banana, check the label to see where it originated. Whether you keep or lose your job is based on how the global economy is faring. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. If I have a problem with my cell phone, the number I call is routed to a service team in India. I can FaceTime a friend in Australia and meet her newborn little girl in real time. I can use Google Maps to see my hotel in Nicaragua for my next work trip. If I need an answer to a question, I just ask Siri. The Internet puts a literal world of information at your fingertips.
You get my point: being global has become a part of daily life. Economists have been saying this for a while now, but like many, I brushed it aside and went on my way.
In fact, it has only been within the last couple of years that I have really taken in this truth. When I became a mother, I became keenly aware that this little person is growing up in an all-consuming, all-connected global world. I began to realize not only the ramifications but also the great opportunities that this connectedness brings.
Christian parents have a unique opportunity to leverage technology and societal norms to teach children to understand and care for the world and its people. In my home, we call this being global in your local.
The term global has been used in many ways. Here, global means the ability to connect with people of different cultures. I want my child to experience the wonder of befriending someone from another culture. I want him to realize that he can not only develop cross-cultural friendships at school, but also can connect with someone in another country and learn more about the world.
Children are primarily motivated by fun. Who isn’t, really? Introducing your child to the concept of being global in your local can and should be fun! Here are some ideas to jump-start your global journey.
I want my child to experience the wonder of befriending someone from another culture. I want him to realize that he can not only develop cross-cultural friendships at school, but also can connect with someone in another country and learn more about the world.
Step one on your global journey is to model respect and kindness to people of different cultures in front of your children. Dialogue about similarities and differences in a respectful way.
Literally, bring the world to your home. Displaying a globe or a large map can help with discussions of countries, climates, and the people.
Do you have a friend or relative who lives in another country? If so, ask them if they know of a child who would be interested in being a pen pal. Several child sponsorship organizations have a letter-writing component. Children can grow up together sharing about their life and culture.
With the holidays just around the corner, incorporate some traditional practices from the country of your letter-writing friend. If you don’t have one, choose a country and sample its customs, decorations, music, and food throughout the holiday season. In the spirit of Christmas, give others a gift from that country’s culture.
We serve a creative God, and it is important to raise children to recognize and appreciate the image of God in the people He created. Children are children, no matter where they live. Your child has more in common with other children around the world than you think. Join me in raising global kids that know and care for the world around them. Check out beglobalinyourlocal.com for resources to help spark these global conversations in your family.
Dr. Lorie Lee works for Compassion International and is a former teacher and a mom! on a journey to raise a global kid. Her son, Maddox, was the inspiration to begin the company, Be Global in Your Local, to create products that help kids to live and think outside of themselves.
This article originally appeared in ParentLife Magazine (November 2016) ParentLife.