How can we help our communities embrace our differences while simultaneously recognizing our similarities with others? In 1999 The United Nations developed a wonderful way to celebrate diversity and cultural distinctions. It’s International Youth Day!–A day to encourage youth around the world to organize activities that raise awareness about the situation of youth in each country.
SIDE TIP: It’s Olympics Time! While you’re watching all of the incredible events & festivities for the 2012 Olympics, get out the map. Help your kids find all these countries to build world geography knowledge!
What are the needs and interests of a child in the U.S. compared to a child in the Philippines? Brazil? Sudan? Or any other country in the world?
This is a great opportunity to embrace storytelling as a medium for bringing these awarenesses to life. There’s an old saying, “The shortest distance between two people is a story.”
In Jane Yolen’s seminal book on the influence and power of folk and fairy lore, Touch Magic (1982), she speaks of the ways in which folk and fairy tales give us a glimpse into other cultures. We learn of their landscape, the flora and fauna, the ways of daily living. But more importantly we learn about their cultural values and morals for living in community and on our planet.
“We’re bridge builders,” storyteller Mark Dyken recently told me. Our stories go out to the world to build understanding and community, even a global community.
So, this Sunday share stories from a far-away land or from a tucked away corner in the U.S! On Sunday, dig into a fun project that will let you and your kids explore the art, music, handwork, the food of another people. And here is a host of ideas at Pinterest!
International Youth Day…This Sunday! Explore ways that your family can build understanding of cultural differences, celebrate diversity and consider ways that each of us can support another person’s quality of life.
CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY IN YOUR HOME.
HERE’S AN IDEA: CELEBRATE JAPAN!
1. LITERATURE: Read a Japanese folktale, like The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel with illustrations by Blair Lent–the 1973 Caledcott Award Winner. Or go to your library and ask for a collection of Japanese folk tales. After you share a story, act it out!
2. COOKING/FOOD & NUTRITION: For younger kids, set a plate with rice cakes for a snack with a little bit of fish and fresh cucumbers. For older kids, help each other make ONIGIRI—Sticky rice balls.
3. ARTS & CRAFTS: Here is a great page with all kinds of arts and crafts ideas from Japan: ActivityVillage.co.uk.
4. CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY: Take a look at the Save the Children website to see what they are still doing today to help Japanese families, whose lives were torn apart by last year’s tsunami. The need for support still goes on!