Our world is becoming increasingly cross-cultural, especially in the U.S. Our country has a rich blend of languages, backgrounds, and ethnicities represented across its 50 states, and it’s important to teach our kids about cultures other than our own. Every person is created by God in his image, and it is our job to help our children see the beauty in our differences. There are a few ways you can explore other cultures with your family that are not only easy, but often inexpensive or even free.
1. Go to the library. Picking out books that celebrate other cultures and people of different races is a great way to expose your child to people who look or act differently than they do. It gives them a category for the unfamiliar things they may see in the world and something to point back to. You can even ask a librarian for award-winning books that celebrate cultures outside of what you encounter on a day-to-day basis.
2. Find local festivals and celebrations to attend. Many cities have annual Greek festivals, celebrations of holidays like Dia de los Muertos or Bastille Day, events to celebrate Black History Month, or countless others celebrations of culture and history — often for free. Taking the family to public events like these is a great way to experience cultures outside of your immediate comfort zone without imposing or feeling out of place. It’s also a way to build community and friendships with people who are different than you.
3. Take a class. Learn how to make Spanish paella, take French lessons or enroll your kids in martial arts. See if there are local community centers offering classes that are unique to specific cultures and take the whole family if possible.
4. Try a new church for a weekend. This one might take a little courage, but experiencing the ways other Christians worship the Lord can be extremely meaningful and eye-opening, especially for kids. If your church is primarily made up of one race, try a church that is primarily another. Some churches even have services in other languages, like Spanish or Korean. Perhaps see how the Catholic church holds mass. This, of course, is not a commitment to leaving your home church — just a glimpse into how others worship in their own way.
5. Explore media from other cultures, like music and movies. Exposing your kids to worship music in another language or movies set in other countries is a great way to introduce new ideas to them. Even television shows for kids that incorporate other languages and educate on other cultures are perfect inclusions as well.
However you expose your children or grandchildren to other cultures, the important thing is to be intentional. As Christians we are called to love others well, and part of loving others is trying to see things from their points of view. Interacting with cultures different from our own is a crucial part of how we influence the world around us as believers.