The world’s a very small place these days. Everywhere we go, we’re exposed to people with different ideas, cultures, backgrounds and values, and intriguing fusions of things that used to be worlds apart.
In a society like this, it’s more important than ever to raise our kids with an open mind. If you want to give your kids a great start in their increasingly diverse environment, here are three tips for fostering an open mind.
Start with Your Own Habits
Ultimately, everyone is responsible for the person they become. However, up to a certain age, our children model a lot of their behaviour on ours. With this in mind, one of the best ways to start fostering a more open mind in our children is paying attention to our own habits. Make sure you’re constantly minding the kinds of things you say, and the way that you act. When you’re at a restaurant, try something that you’ve never had before. If you’re in town and you have the time, take a quick walk around a second-hand store and take a look at whatever curiosities attracts you or your kid. Try to avoid generalising statements, even if they are near enough accurate. This will teach your kids to be much more open to new things, whatever form they take.
Expose Them to Different Cultures
They say that travel’s the best education for a reason. If your family has been taking the same vacation for years, even if it seems like heaven on earth, try to broaden your horizons and give your children the opportunity to experience other ways of life. It also pays to keep an eye out for school trips to foreign countries. If regular, international travel simply isn’t in the budget, you can still expose your children to different cultures, and help them to become more open-minded people. Read books and watch movies with them that are based in other countries, and feature elements of those cultures. The Life of Pi is a sure-fire winner! Cooking cuisines from different countries, and making a point to find out a little about the country in question, can also be a big help. It can be tough to convince a child to try their first curry, but with any luck, they’ll be begging for it from then on!
Wean Them Off a Fear of Failure
One of the main things that stops people from coming out of their shells and trying new things is a fear of failure. Yes, our individual comfort zones are… well, comforting. Still, think about how empty your life would be if you never did anything you were a bit nervous about! Children have fragile egos, but try to teach them to see failure as another opportunity to get better at something, rather than something to wallow in for days. Once your child overcomes a fear of failure, they’ll become more ambitious in the things they set out to achieve, and more open-minded to challenges and opportunities that they were scared of before.