It can be overwhelming with all of the resources on how to raise globally-minded citizens. Flor Garcia has four steps on raising leaders of peace at home.
Raising Leaders of Peace
Raising global-minded children sounds like a fun way to educate kids and prepare them for the future. However, we are constantly bombarded with posts, articles, and campaigns promoting diversity and inclusion, and also instructions on how to achieve this goal.
I must confess, sometimes it becomes overwhelming to raising leaders of peace with so many resources out there… it is difficult to know where to start.
Personally, it has helped me tremendously to find the ultimate purpose to find the best way to bring culture and diversity to our home.
Achieving any goal is easier if we know the WHY to be able to find and bear with the HOW.
Finding my WHY
Half a year ago, I was invited to attend the World Law Congress in Madrid, Spain. For two intensive days, I listened to distinguished personalities from the international legal world highlight the relevance of the Rule of Law as a mechanism to guarantee democracies in the world and bring peace to every corner of the planet.
I was content, even though I was missing my former attorney days. But I was also enjoying diversity and inclusion at its best.
Then it happened.
During an ecumenical act in the Almudena Cathedral of Madrid, I listened to the former president of the World Jurist Association Dr. Franklin Hoet-Linares say “¡Vamos a educar para la paz!”, let’s educate for peace!
This message of educating for peace impacted me deeply.
It made me question my role as a mother and moreover, as a responsible party for raising the future leaders of the world. Leaders of peace.
Men and women who are so in touch with diversity will spend their lives building bridges instead of preparing for the worst: war.
“Let us embrace the beauty of every culture and faith to create peace in our world.”— Mitra Sen
From WHY to HOW
I came back home fully recharged for my life as a mom of three global citizens. First, I wrote down every single idea that came to my mind, then I searched resources and I read books and magazines non-stop.
In the end, I had my head filled with everything related to diversity, peace, parenting, and culture.
Happily and proudly, I announced my children that I found the right formula to bring the culture of peace to our house in a fun, easy, and effective way.
It has worked wonders for our relationship as a family of five: peaceful kids, peaceful parents. My kids were excited!
Obviously, every peaceful mind has its moments of fear of the unknown, bad mood, and stress.
These are the four tools that have helped us rise above critical situations as we continue promoting harmony at home so our children become future leaders of peace in their community.
Four Tools for Raising Leaders of Peace
1. Covering basic needs
If a child is malnourished, sleepy, sick, and cranky he or she won’t behave nicely. At least in most cases.
It is our job to make sure our kids get enough sleep, spend a big deal of time playing outdoors, eat a balanced diet, and drink plenty of clean water.
We also need to provide them with practices that promote inner peace. Meditation has been proven to help us better connect with our emotions, embracing them and expressing our feelings in a more conciliatory way.
Additionally, I discovered yoga as a tool to deal with my son’s ADHD and it has also worked wonders to calm down angry kids.
Giselle Shardlow has a great article about how to use yoga to handle angry feelings. We like it very much.
2. Exposure to different cultures
One big impediment to world peace is the intolerance of other people’s traditions and beliefs. We can change this through education. Explore with your child new traditions, religious beliefs, and customs.
We usually add a tradition from other cultures to our festivities of the year. It can be as easy as cooking a traditional dish from another country for your next Thanksgiving dinner.
Finding beauty in diverse traditions creates an intangible bond between our children and the world and that’s what we need: world leaders connected to the realities of diversity and inclusion.
Remember what they say: “you can’t love what you don’t see”. So let’s bring the world to our homes.
3. Get to know your own roots
Countless hours of intercultural training have taught me many things. But one that stuck with me is to know and embrace our own culture.
We cannot pretend to be global ambassadors if we don’t know in-depth our own traditions and beliefs.
Teaching our children the origin of so many things we do just because we have grown up doing them, is as important as exposing them to diverse cultures.
Contrary to what many say, being in touch with our own roots doesn’t make us nationalists (in the very wrong sense of the word) or extremists.
When we understand our cultural background, we find better ways to connect with the commonalities of other cultures. We also tend to engage more effectively with people from other countries when we have a solid cultural base that allows us to share our own traditions while assuming the ones from others.
So let’s invite our children to talk about their favorite traditions from their own culture. Ask them why they enjoy such traditions and brainstorm ways to share them with others around us.
4. Make it real
Never-ending chats, books, and videos don’t bring the reality of diversity as accurately as living and feeling cultures hands-on.
Create and celebrate diversity and peace. You can model peaceful leadership with your own behavior. Be curious, be mindful, be present. We love to eat, that’s why we use cooking as a way to connect with other cultures. You choose your own favorite thing.
Some handy ideas to promote diversity and raise the peaceful global citizens our world needs are: art projects, literature, music, films, cooking classes, and traveling.
Back in Texas, we created Family Fusion Fest at school. We volunteered to organize a potluck where families brought different dishes from their home countries. It was beautiful to see everyone enjoying each other’s traditions and hanging out together without resentment or fear.
Later in Germany, we have done the same thing, but this time at home. Inviting friends to our house for a potluck picnic has become one of my dearest traditions. To see the familiarity of my kiddos with diverse cultures is so rewarding.
Experiencing their passion for visiting the countries of origin of their favorite dishes is a blessing!
Creating a Culture of Peace is Vital for our Future
As you may see, we need to be active! It requires some work but our world will be so grateful for it.
There are so many ways to be agents of peace, you just need to find your niche and explore it!
Offering to read a book could be a nice and smooth way to teach peace to young kids in elementary school. Be creative! The possibilities are endless.
Let’s keep in mind that our children are the leaders of our future and it is through them that we will create a culture of peace in a world always ready for conflict.