What makes us mean?
I believe that every hateful act stems from a foundation of fear. It could be fear of feeling powerless or inferior. Fear of change. Or even fear of something different that we don’t understand.
As adults, we need to conquer those fears in order to achieve inner peace and then, hopefully, world peace.
If we could raise fearless children, we would be creating kinder kids.
How do we do this?
EMPOWERMENT TO CREATE KINDER KIDS
The first step to creating kinder kids is to ensure they don’t feel powerless. Many bullies, when asked why they did it, said the act of bullying made them feel stronger (fear of feeling powerless). Others said it was what you did if you wanted to hang out with a certain crowd (fear of not fitting in). Some claimed it was a way to ensure they wouldn’t be bullied. Again, fear was the major motivator.
Bullies, like child predators, tend to target the kids they believe will not stand up and speak up for themselves. Confident children are much more likely to seek help if they are bullied because they understand their worth and know that they don’t deserve to be treated that way.
Seems children never have a problem with the ‘no’ word when speaking to their parents. However, it’s a word that needs to be actively taught to young children when they are dealing with others.
They should be encouraged to say; “No, I don’t want to do that” and “Stop, I don’t like that”. These words are empowering.
If those words don’t help, the children should have faith that seeking adult help will create a safe space for them.
Another way to empower children is to let them know that they can make big differences by even the smallest actions. This is a dialogue I have regularly with the Goddesses as I pointed out in my post, How Can a Speck of Plastic Help Save the World?
Where the real power lies though, is with the knowledge that we are all connected to each other and to all of nature.
This is a scientific fact. All of life began with one cell. And because of that connection, our every action affects everything.
CULTURAL COMPREHENSION FOR KINDER KIDS
It can be a complicated concept for young minds. It is often difficult to see connections where there are so many differences between cultures.
It’s interesting that even in a world made smaller by the marvels of technology, many children are sheltered from the different cultures that make up this planet.
Exposing them to these cultures early helps them to gain comprehension (eliminating the fear of not understanding), acceptance, and even admiration. It helps children to grasp the idea of our interconnectedness.
It also helps to put their own lives in perspective. Read The Health Trap of Success and How to Avoid It to see how this happened with my (adult) son.
Children may come to realise how lucky they are compared to some. This can lead to increased feelings of compassion and gratitude. All necessary ingredients to create kinder kids.
When introduced to other cultures at an early age, children begin to focus on our commonalities, rather than our differences.
CULTURAL CREATIVITY FOR KINDER KIDS
Of course, the most wonderful way to expose children to different cultures and help eliminate their fear of differences is to travel with them.
Travelling means they see first-hand how other cultures operate. Their other senses also come into play with all the different scents and sounds.
This is not an affordable option for many. That’s where the cultural creativity comes in.
If we can’t intrigue the kids with the sights, scents, and sounds of other countries and cultures, we need to fire up their imaginations.
Just telling children about other cultures isn’t enough. They need to be encouraged to feel a connection. As always, the best results happen when the children are actively involved in their learning process.
What better way to do this than to have them play the games children from other cultures play? Or to role-play at being a Renaissance artist or an architect?
They may not be able to hear the different styles of speech, the traffic noises, nature sounds in other countries. But they can participate in cultural creativity while listening to the music of that specific culture.
CULTURAL CREATIVITY AT WACKY WORKSHOPS
This is how I run the Wacky Workshops International Crafts program.
Right from the start, the children’s imaginations are fired up as they fill in their Wacky passports and prepare for take-off in Wacky’s magical plane.
When that plane touches down at the mystery location, traditional music is playing and the students are told briefly about the highlights of their destination.
Then it’s time for the cultural creativity to come in.
A visit to Africa might see us making traditional masks and our own mini jungles.
We might put the royal touch on some crowns for a visit to England or make the legendary unicorn that is the national animal of Scotland.
Past students have marvelled at the genius of the Dutch while making their own windmills.
They’ve been thrilled by the artistic cleverness of the French while making a rose window in a mini version of Notre Dame.
They’ve been inspired by tantalising tales as they made their own Trojan horses while on a magical trip to Ancient Greece.
Cultural creativity could include making games that are played by children in other countries. Or recreating inventions from various countries – Hill’s hoist rotary clothesline from Australia, Braille code from France, an ice cream cone from Italy.
By recreating inventions, the students get an appreciation of the contributions made by other cultures.
By making games played by children from other countries, the students get an understanding that children everywhere enjoy the same kinds of activities.
CULTURAL CREATIVITY AND CAREERS
It really is a small world after all and technology is making it smaller every day. Chances are, our children will need to interact with many different cultures in their future careers.
They will have much more success if they can approach this with enthusiasm, understanding and compassion. If they are not coming from a place of fear.
Read Join Me on a Fun and Magically Wacky Trip for a sneak peek into a Wacky International Crafts Workshop.
Happy travels and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.