When we’re raising a child in a country like America, having been raised in a developing country ourselves, sometimes when we see the political and social turmoil going on in our birth country, we might feel like distancing ourselves and our children from there. Or at the least, we might feel embarrassed to be connected to a country which has such a negative media image. And if WE feel like that we will most probably pass this on to our kids. Even if most of our kids won’t consider Pakistan THEIR country, still, they will forever be connected to it through us. And I feel its important to develop a confidence and a sense of pride in them about their roots. Just like being from a well-knit and stable home gives you a strong base, so does knowing that the culture and country your family belongs to has so much good about it, even if others might think otherwise. And it actually is true, the best thing about being multicultural is being able to see the best of two worlds. No country/culture really is good or bad, some might have more challenges but there is good in each way of life. Whatever we might do or become, most of us will be connected to the lands we come from in more ways than one. And it would be awesome if our kids thought of their multicultural childhood as an advantage.
Some simple ideas for giving our kids a good connection to their roots are
- Teach them to appreciate the language, whether they speak it or only understand it. Expose them to it as much as you can and as they grow older explain to them what a great advantage it is to be bilingual1
- Telling them about the little things that you miss about back home and why.
- Telling them stories of your childhood and the places you lived.
- When you travel back to visit family, make sure you don’t just get busy shopping and eating and meeting your loved ones, make time to explore local sites around you.
- Introduce them to music, and don’t forget to include local/folk songs. I personally love music and there is such charm in those traditional tunes and dances. You Tube is a great resource for these.
- Tell them stories of inspiring people from the country. (It will be a great reason for you to collect these stories, because unfortunately most of the news out from Pakistan at least is negative. This is one of the reasons why I have a board on Pinterest where I collect them. Link is below2)
- And as they grow older, you can also talk to them about the challenges the country faces, and why. And the things some of the people are doing to help their country.
Do you have any other ideas on giving your children an appreciation of their roots? Would love to know.
Thanks for reading and lots of love.
The photos are from August 14th, Pakistan’s Independence day, when I put out reminders of our roots around our house to celebrate.