I’m getting ready to go back to NYC, this time to serve as the speaker for World Brooklyn on March 31, at 1 pm., to take place at Brooklyn Friends School. The day’s theme is: Ideas for Raising Citizens of Tomorrow, and the question organizers pose is: How do you bring the world to your child and bring your child to the world?
It’s a great question, and particularly for wonderful Brooklyn, where so many cultures come together in one packed community. The world has already, famously, come to them. So, some people in the area have justifiably asked: “Why do I need to go to this? We’re already global; that’s something for other communities.”
In response, one of the wise Brooklyn “global” educators responded:
I have the feeling that most of us believe that because we are exposing our children to a second or third language, we are raising our kids globally. This is not realistic, in my opinion! Being global transcends social boundaries and cultures. Through the addition of another language, we are expanding our children’s brain’s agility and being exposed to another culture, but we are certainly not raising global children.
So my queston is: what does it mean to be global in NYC? Can the same definition be applied to communities in France, England, South Africa, Beijing…
Even if you live in a highly diverse community, does that automatically make you a “friend to the whole human race?” Is this diversity reflected among your friends and weekly interactions and experiences? Is there an authentic, natural relationship that you and your children build with the “world” that lives alongside you? And how do you guard against acquiring an elitist attitude that might come from your multi-lingual, cosmopolitan life? This is the opposite challenge for most of the rest of the United States, which is part of what makes Brooklyn so special; but like one who has a great talent, she needs to be aware that the gift doesn’t become a source of arrogance or a barrier to really growing and serving the world by using that natural gift to benefit a greater good.
These are big and mysterious questions – I look forward to kicking these around much more!