23 November 2014

5 Easy Ways to Give Kids a Global Perspective

Third culture kids will grow up with a wider perspective, a richer understanding of diversity and culture, and a smaller view of themselves. This should come naturally with their immersion into multiple cultures, their mobility, and their need to acclimate.

However, the core of their viewpoint--especially when they are too little for rational thought--still comes from us as parents. I believe we need to teach them actively about the world, telling them that the gospel is for all people.

Also, not everyone reading this has TCKs. Maybe you have relocated to your home country but still want your children to have that global mindset. Maybe you are abroad but have eased into a strong expat community. Or maybe you are the foreigner, but your children know nothing about that feeling.

All our children need our guidance. All our kids must learn of the Great Commission from us. We all should feel the common heartbeat of the nations and long to hear praises in every language lifted to our one God.

How do we do that?

Let's get practical. I have three kids: a kindergartner, a preschooler, and a toddler. But it's never too early to share our values with them. Here are a few ways I've brought the world into our home.

1. Get a globe
No brainer, right? Well, do you have one in your house? I finally picked one up from the equivalent of a dollar store here in Seoul. It's small, and all the labels are in Korean, but it's a globe! My kids were hardly talking when we snagged this purchase, but I remember the giddiness I felt when I could actually point to the places we referenced (where relatives lived, where friends traveled, where certain countries we read about actually existed).

Another option if you don't want to buy an actual globe is to find an inflatable one. (Here's one on Amazon for $4.) That won't take up any space if you don't want it to.

The point is to be visual. Even if we're living out of our home countries, we're still living in a limited space. A globe (or a world map) shows the world and gets us all--not just our kids--thinking that we are part of a vast, magnificent creation.

2. Read them good, culture-rich picture books
Not all books are good! Bypass the lame Nickelodeon-to-storybook trends that have little depth and go for books that teach about people groups. Here's a short list of my favorite TCK books. And here's another list of some of my favorite books about other cultures:

Hush! by Minfong Ho (Thailand)
Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park (Korea)
Going Home, Coming Home by Truong Tran (Vietnam)
It Takes a Village by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (Africa, specifically Benin)

[Note: I need to make a longer list of these cultural picture books. If you have recommendations, please share!]

3. Pray for countries and people groups
Do you use an Operation World book or their website? (It's such a good prayer tool.) Did you know there's a kid version? I was blessed to get this second-hand, and the kids like to look up new people groups and learn about them. We talk about the differences in culture and our common need for Jesus.

Another excellent tool is the website Joshua Project. You can get a daily prayer reminder in your Facebook feed too.

I probably should've told my son to wear a shirt for the photo, but maybe he was identifying with the man from Papua New Guinea? 

4. Sponsor a child and correspond with him/her
There are so many solid organizations for this. Here's one that I can personally vouch for since I know its founder. Village of Hope Uganda makes extra effort to connect children with their sponsors. They also have a gift catalog if you or your children want to give something specific to help the ministry.

Another that my family was able to experience was Kids International Ministries in the Philippines. On a recent school trip, we were privileged to stay at the YMC guest house and witness the volunteers working with the neighborhood kids. What a testimony of Jesus' compassion!

5. Be the Example
But the most important thing we can do for our kids' perspectives is to model diversity in the way we behave. That means respecting other cultures, interacting with others from different backgrounds, and showing concern for the needs around the world. This is probably the most influential way to create a global mindset in our children--and in ourselves too.

Abide in Him,

What are other ways we can teach our children about the world?
Do you have more book recommendations that teach diversity?

Related articles you may also appreciate:
The End-all Choice for Moms (Hint: It's not school.)
4 Cross-cultural Novels
Defining Home and Heaven


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm sure you have some ideas to add, so please feel free to if you want. :)

      I've so appreciated "touring" your blog and am going to "settle down" there as a part-time resident. (Everywhere I settle seems part-time.) Thanks for organizing it and writing too!


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