The importance of becoming a citizen of the world is crystal clear when we step out of our comfort zone. Suddenly things don’t look so black and white. We can see the shades of grey and appreciate them. If we want to raise children who can compete with the rest of the world, they need to have a global mindset.

Snorkeling the crystal clear waters of Aruba, learning about undersea life.

9 Ways to Ensure Kids Have a Global Mindset

  1. Travel

Being a connected to the rest of humanity must start with experiences people, places and ideas contrary to your own. Travel as much and as far as you can with your kids. Be sure to travel to see many different cultures, especially ones that are vastly different from yours.

Finding our way through the Tokyo subway system – yikes!

  1. Get Immersed

It’s not enough to just touch down in a different country or culture, you have to immerse yourself in it. While staying at an exclusive all-inclusive resort is wonderful, it probably won’t give you a real sense of the place. Try to experience the local customs, foods, music, languages and people. It’s important not be a voyeur though. You shouldn’t be there to judge anyone.

Looking for faeries in the forests of Ireland with a local guide.

  1. Learn a New Language

When at all possible, teach your kids multiple languages. Being able to talk to people in their own language is key. Some things just can’t be translated. The saying “lost in the translation” is real. Even knowing how to say hello, goodbye, please and thank you, is enough to show people you are at least trying to communicate with them. This is what having a global mindset is all about.

Brushing up on our Spanish in Huatulco, Mexico

  1. Start Local

No matter where you live, you can find programs to try in or near your own town. Go to that part of town you don’t normally visit. Eat at the foreign sounding restaurant. Encourage your kids to order something other than the chicken nuggets. Volunteer for an organization that serves communities which don’t look like yours. Be open to learning and receiving as much as you give.

  1. Shop Sustainably

It’s so important to learn about the items you spend your money on, and how those items are created and transported. Make sure you are spending money on things that help the Earth and its inhabitants and not hurt them. We love shopping at the local farmers’ market and supporting local growers for this very reason.

farmers market plums and apricots

Whole fresh fruit from the Farmer’s Market makes a great snack for the road.

  1. Reuse and Recycle

Take your kids to help you donate gently used clothes to Goodwill. While doing this, take some time to explain what happens with them after the items are donated.  Or give your kids a firsthand view of the local recycling center, so they know it’s more than just the plastic bin they lug to the curb every Monday. Being a global citizen means taking care of the Earth. Let your kids help you do this and see how it’s done.

  1. Read – A Lot

We don’t always have the time or money to travel to new places. However, books can always takes us anywhere we want to go. Make sure your kids see you reading too. Go to the local library and look for books with characters who don’t look, act or talk like you. Also read magazines, newspapers and online articles that may not be in your usual cache of reading material. Reading will expand your horizons in the most time efficient, fiscally responsible way.

 

Edinburgh Castle has lasted through the ages with stories to tell.

  1. Vote

Politicians make the laws that govern our society. It’s critically important we get involved in choosing who gets elected to those offices. From the most local of offices to the President of the United States, the laws they make affect people around the world. Vote for politicians who actively protect our environment, stand up for the unheard, and understands the importance of a world-first mindset.

  1. Eat New Foods

Yes, eating can be part of being a good global citizen. You’re welcome! Eating the same foods you grew up on is fine, but try to expand your palate. Let your kids see you trying new things and they might do the same. Look for locally-sourced foods. Seek out chefs who use unusual seasonings you don’t typically use. Go to a restaurant offering cuisine from a foreign land. Order something out of your ordinary fare.

woman selling meat on sticks in Cambodian Market, Siem Reap

Whatever it is, put it on a stick and someone will eat it in Cambodia!

We Each Make A Difference

Kids need to believe in their interconnectedness. They need to know they are citizens of the world to develop a global mindset. It will give them purpose and confidence and like they belong to a larger community outside of the one they see every day. Encouraging kids to be others focused will help them become global citizens. It will change the way they live, work and play – and change the world as well.

 

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