Why should kids learn about the world?
We launched The Adventurous Mailbox because we think it is awfully important for kids to not only learn about other cultures, but also to develop an international perspective as they grow up. The ability to understand the way other people think and live their lives may not be assessed on standardized tests, but it is vitally important for every kid’s future.
Prepares them for the future
For starters, the most obvious reason cultural education is important is that as countries of the world become more and more connected, chances are that the kids of today will need to work or cooperate with people from other cultures. Whether conducting business or collaborating on a design project, it would be helpful to know, for example, that when communicating with people from many Asian cultures it is very important to never let them lose face. With Confucius having a mighty influence on the region as well, it is also important to understand and operate correctly within the established hierarchy.
Beyond Eastern Asia, there are little nuggets to learn about cultures from all over the world that will make collaboration and communication more fluid and more successful. If kids can develop the ability to learn about and truly understand other cultures, as well as to see things from entirely different perspectives, they will have a major leg up in the future with much more opportunity available to them. Kids who are raised to study only their own culture and believe other cultures should adapt to their own way of thinking will be left behind in future work and social spheres, just as adults are starting to learn firsthand in today’s world.
Allows for personal growth
The amount of personal growth that comes from exploring other cultures also makes the endeavor time well spent. We all want our kids to grow up into fulfilled adults, but we also know that for many of us life as an adult isn’t easy and that happiness and contentment aren’t things that are easily acquired. Even if one “succeeds” by having a healthy family and a stable job, so many of us fall into ruts. We get into ruts at work, and we get into cultural ruts at home where the only new inspiration comes from Netflix.
How, then, do we get a kid on a path that leads to more fulfillment? Well, if a child learns to study and appreciate other cultures or even pick up another language, more prospects and ideas will be available that make life richer. Just learning about other cultures opens up a world of options and choices that would have otherwise been undiscovered, and over the course of adulthood options would be continuously revealed. As Marcel Proust advised, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” One great way to “see with new eyes” is to learn about how other folks live their lives.
Along the same lines, studying other cultures also helps kids who may feel out of place in their own. Whether they don’t fit in to their small town, urban environment, suburbia, or even the country as a whole, learning about other countries and cultures can give them inspiration to push on and not be limited by the surroundings that don’t suit them. It can serve as a “window out” and ease the massive pressure kids feel to conform.
Moreover, learning about other cultures also helps kids develop another skill: empathy. When kids are able to see the world through another person’s eyes and respect their perspective, this lays the foundation for becoming a kind and open-minded adult. This is another great motivation for our whole endeavor.
There are probably a million more reasons studying other cultures is vitally important for kids, but we will start with these: It prepares them for the future and it allows for great personal growth. If you have found any other benefits for kids from exploring other cultures, please let us know.
Here’s to a wonderful journey!