German Christmas Traditions and Why Celebrating Holidays from different cultures Is Important for children
3 EASY WAYS TO TEACH WORLD CULTURES TO STUDENTS THIS CHRISTMAS
Every year on the night of December 5, my kids clean and polish the biggest little winter boots (or California winter shoes:) they own and place them by the front door. The next morning they wake up, run to the door and find Nicholaus had graciously filled their boots with little treats!!! (such as special snacks, books, clementines, or small toys. Honestly, most years it’s whatever I have at hand. It may be some stickers or little toy/book I have in my treasure box, no extra Target run required. You can always fill it up with healthy snacks.)
This tradition is based on the true story of Saint Nicholas, a man in Greece who loved people and helped the poor. Ever since I have had kids I struggled with the Saint Nicholas/Santa Clause dilemma: Wanting to instill world culture in my children and wanting always be truthful with my children (one of my core values). But at the same time not sure if I wanted to spoil the in some sense beautiful tale of a giving Santa Clause.
Multiethnic Christmas Gift Ideas For Kids
So there came the day, the year that I realized my kids are getting way more toys for Christmas than my minimalist aspiring heart can hold. Therefore I decided that “from now on I will only purchase really beautiful and really meaningful toys!” No more going crazy on Black Friday getting last minute cheap plastic, throw-me-away-three-weeks-later gadgets from me. Only meaningful gifts that build my children’s character, fostered their unique talents and sharpened their cultural compenetency! And so started my journey of only buying absolutely beautiful diverse gifts such as those listed bellow.
You know I always felt that having too much “stuff” is not helping but more so harming a child. Psychology Today confirmed that when I recently read that “a high level of materialism during childhood may even decrease life satisfaction in adulthood (Opree et al, 2013). Indeed, studies of adults have associated increased materialism with decreased life satisfaction, happiness, vitality, social cooperation and environmentally sustainable behaviors, as well as increased depression, anxiety, racism and antisocial behavior (Twenge and Kasser, 2013).”
woah... piling unnecessary stuff on my offspring I may actually contribute to raising antisocial, anxious little racists? Ok, so what’s the solution? Since I also believe it’s important to show love by giving some sort of gift (since we all know about love languages since Gary Chapman:), here’s the solution:
I decided for Christmas the children will only get toys from us that will positively impact their minds, hearts and souls AND also shape them socially and culturally. Pretty deep? No, I just wanted my gifts to be meaningful enough to help them grow into intelligent and compassionate human beings AND spend my money on items that help them embrace their cultural and individual idenity... and yes foster a healthy self image.
The 3 bEst MulticuLtural Children's Books
So I was seriously laying in bed the other night wondering that if I was only allowed to choose 3 books, which ones would I gift a child of African descent with? Hm.... that’s hard. There are so many good ones. But I came up with three power packed beautiful, stunning, life changing, most essentials books that are simply treasures that my kids and I wouldn’t give up for any deserted island! (:
ThanKsgiving, Modern Day Pilgrims & Reading books about immigrant children
This week I’m constantly reminded of Charlotte Mason’s statement that it’s not as much about how much our students know but more so about how much they care and ....how many things they care about....
It encouraged me to once again open the pages of our PilgrimsNow & Then Unit Study this Fall and to begin reading stories. We read about the first Pilgrim’s. We read about children arriving on the Mayflower Compact. We read about children coming as indentured servants form Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. We meet Jewish, Chinese, Russian children who faced their unique set of obstacles and adventures. And then we talk about the approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrant children called “The Dreamers” who are currently living in the U.S..
And we talk about what it may have felt like to move to a differnt country. We talk about me, their mama coming to the U.S. many years ago, just like the pilgrims. So we talk and we read books. Really organically the conversation becomes rich and beautiful.
why It is iMportant To take EVEN small children on trips
To be completely honest: The selfish, independent me does not enjoy traveling with kids, especially small children. It’s not as relaxed as traveling alone. However, I’ve been wrapping my first daughter in a moby wrap to board a plane since she was 3 months and taken her on 15 hour plane rides and car rides that were looooong. I have traveled with my kids and always will.
So, why do I do it? Why have I committed to taking even young children on trips, to new places?
Recent Research Showed Health Implications of Living With Prejudices
Today I stumbled across an article that left me with a brand new thought: People who intentionally embrace their cultural identity for themselves and their families live healthier, happier, longer lives!
On the flip side, according to the New York Times, "Discrimination, especially when chronic, harms the body and the mind. How we treat one another, and how our institutions treat us, affects how long and how well we live." Woah...
10 Children's Books That Shape A StrOng Ethnic Identity in ChildRen
Have you ever worried your child grows up insecure feeling less adequate, less worth than others based on her appearance, his skills, her skin tone or her ethnic background? Have you ever wondered if he may feel like he is not fitting in his or her homogenous surroundings?
Maybe you have heard your child say:
"I wish I wasn't..." or
"I wish I was..."
Maybe YOU have said it. Maybe you openly broke down in tears with this statement one day or you quietly mumbled it to yourself as you looked into the bathroom mirror as a teenager.
I believe no matter if everyone in your community looks like you or no one looks like you, every single person in this world has struggled, is struggling or will be struggling with identity problems at some point in his or her life. Especially young people who are beginning their formation of self image are in danger of taking on a negative or a false identity of who they truly are.
So how do you foster a strong, healthy cultural identity in your child within which they learn to honor their own as well as other cultures without feeling they are inferior or superior to the own?
Here are 5 ways I found very helpful in raising children that are of an ethnic minority or majority:
Shaping your World into The Very Life You Love
Today my kids and I learnt such deep and valuable lessons on perseverance. On faithfully staying the course. On keep on keepin’ on even when it gets rough And we learnt it from the life and art of beautiful African American Artist Augusta Savage (1892-1962).
We learnt about chasing your dreams. No matter what and even.
We learnt about using the very obstacles you encounter as a catapult into your destiny! The very person who did not believe in her dream, her father, was the one whose face Augusta used to sculpture into a stunning bus which would open for her the heavy doors of the 1930s prestigious arts world and proof her exceptional talent to create and teach art. Sounds like an amazing homeschool day right? Well, it didn’t start like that...
How to walk through Hard Seasons
California based Ghanaian-German educator, writer, bookworm and mama of three. A lover of all things nature, diversity & healthy.
"Education is nothing else than discovery.
And discovery full of diversity is beautiful."
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About the author
My name is Nancy. I'm a teacher, home educator, wife, mother, writer and accidental German-Ghanaian transplant to the U.S., in love with California and all things diversity.