Success in Global Citizenship
We’re all concerned about Haiti right now, rallying to send what we can to help them recover from the natural disaster that has befallen them. As I listen to all the news talk of the intense poverty there, though, I must ask the question — why wasn’t this poverty on our national priority list before this disaster? I keep thinking about how the media works, and how our country’s popular agenda has not included this nation’s need for assistance and infrastructure before it became an apocalyptic situation there. And this goes for so many countries in the world. We live most days without any thought to the fact that the state of so many of the world’s citizens is grossly impoverished compared to that of most Americans.
In thinking about schooling my children, one of my goals is to be sure that they are educated as global citizens — aware of other cultures, of inequities, of differences and similarities of their lives and the lives of other children around the world — and to not keep them in the bubble of our suburban existence. We are pretty sure we are going to homeschool for the early years, for medical reasons but also for the great opportunity we have as teachers to educate our own children with the values and critical thinking we believe it will take to make a difference in this world of the future we are all facing. Assuming we jump with this plan next year, we are planning to use The Global Village School as our curriculum, consultants and school of record, and we are thrilled at the idea of working with an organization with similar goals as ours in educating the new generation of world citizens.
I’ve been doing some reading to prepare for all of this, and I came across a quote, quoted in the book Growing up Global: Raising Children To Be At Home in the World by Homa Sabet Tavangar that speaks to all of this, and stopped me in my tracks:
But as we wonder why the Iraqis react this way, and the French that way, and the Russians help the Iranians, and the Germans blithely lecture the United States on moral points only decades after incinerating millions, a common explanation coalesces. We don’t know enough about other countries. We don’t follow the rest of the world enough. Our newspapers and TV stations don’t tell us enough. And we don’t care enough.
What will it take to help the next generation become better global citizens than most of us are now? I’m trying to learn the answer to this question. I’m seeking resources, like the aforementioned book and the Global Village School, that can help me and my kids dig for information that will help us understand and constantly consider other cultures, other faiths, other realities, and not just our own. And, while traveling abroad would of course be one great way to learn about the world, if that is not an option there are so many other ways to think globally from wherever we live. Success for me as a homeschooling parent must include children who think with a global perspective, and who think beyond the surface of what flashes on the nightly news.
Each image of Haiti serves for me not just as a reminder of how precious each moment is, and how things beyond our control can occur in an instant to change everything — but also as a reminder that there are things we can control before a disaster strikes, and that we have much to learn about how others live so we can even out the scales on our globe a bit more in years to come. The disaster in Haiti is more than the earthquakes. It’s a disaster of global inequality. And we have the power to make a difference beyond earthquake relief, before earthquake relief, too. Let’s think about it.
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