Global-Minded Children

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post, Global-Minded Education: A New Currency for the 21st Century, by Libby Stephens. That article has made me stop and ponder what I teach my own children on a daily basis. If you have a moment, go and read it. It is very insightful and thought-provoking as a parent and as an educator, too.

I know and understand that most schools are educating our children in many of the areas that Libby mentions, but what, as parents, can we do to reinforce this global mindset in our children?

1. Educate Yourself. You will not be able to teach, or even talk about any of the issues that Libby writes about if you first do not already know something about it. So grab a newspaper, open up an online news channel and find out what is going on globally. Read articles on environmental living, and brainstorm with the whole family ways to change your lifestyle habits for the better. If you haven’t read Libby’s blog post, go now. That’s a good starting point.

2. Talk with your child(ren). Some of the issues are not for the younger crowd, so if you have young children pick the ones that are appropriate. If you have older teens, find out what they already know and begin the discussion. Talk to your child(ren) and discover what issues really concern them. Are they concerned? Can we challenge our child(ren)to think about other things other then their homework, their friends, their iphones, etc.? I think so. Make one night of the month Discussion Night and talk about one of the issues.

3. Make a Plan. I think talking is good and it helps to educate the whole family, but is there anything that you or your child(ren) can do? Does your child want to actively do something? I was challenged this summer by the story of Rachel Beckwith, the 9-year old girl from Washington state that asked her friends and family to donate money to Charity Water instead of buying presents. Her goal was $300, but she didn’t quite make it by her birthday. A few weeks later, she died in a car wreck. Her death challenged people from around the world to give in her honor. The total amount given was around $1 million. A 9-year old. Astounding isn’t it? What really stood out to me about Rachel, though, was her desire to help others, her global mindset.  At age 5, she grew her hair out for Locks of Love, an organization that uses hair to make wigs for people who have cancer or other diseases. Where did she hear about this organization? How did she come up with this idea? I don’t have those answers, but I applaud her parents for encouraging and allowing her to do those things. Her parents are an example to me. How am I equipping/encouraging my children to do those kind of things? It all goes back to #1 and #2. Inform yourself, talk with your kids about those issues, and then listen to see what your kids want to do about them.

What are your thoughts? Are you challenged by Libby’s post? What are your ideas? Please comment below.

*If you’d like to read more about Rachel Beckwith, Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an excellent piece, Rachel’s Last Fund-Raiser, for the NY Times.

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7 thoughts on “Global-Minded Children

  1. Hello Donna,

    Thanks for your blog and for this post. I am a fan of Libby Stephens too. Have you read the post about grandparenting overseas? It’s on her blog and worth reading. I like your suggestion of talking to kids. I would suggest that parents make these discussion moments fun (add a bowl of popcorn, have it by the fireplace or during a picnic etc.) I invite you to visit my blog. I am a Dutch adult third culture kid (ATCK) and lived in Africa for 19 years. I just wrote about a new book on my blog called “Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child” by Julia Simens. Have you heard of it? It’s all about talking with kids about their emotions.

    It’s a real amazing story about Rachel, I hadn’t heard that story before.
    We need to raise our global nomads to be global-minded and to live as responsible global citizens. As parents we need to live and lead by example.

    • Definitely need to make those nights fun or the kids will not want to do it. Love the picnic idea!
      I haven’t heard of that book, thanks for the suggestion. I’ll be adding that to my list of books to read.

  2. Hi. I found your blog while surfing through wordpress tags for my own blog / store. I go to the church that Rachel Beckwith went to and my daughter was in her class there. It was a devasting time. It waslso a learning time. I had never heard of Charity Water until our first visit to Eastlake Church. they tell you at the end that for every new person that comes through the doors for a visit, they donate in your name to them just for stopping by.

    I’m glad to see her story touched you all the way where you are. It is a good one and one that my children have learned from as well. Rachel had a big goal for a 9 year old and a totally unselfish one at that. We can all learn from Rachel Beckwith. We are not promised tomorrow, but while we are here we can live thinking about helping others in need around the world.

    • Thanks so much for stopping by. Seriously, very humbled that you took time to comment. Your last sentence speaks volumes: “We are not promised tomorrow, but while we are here we can live thinking about helping others in need around the world.” And to tag onto that, not to just think, but to do. That is what Rachel challenged me in…doing it.

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