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.