The Cultured Child
By: Jennifer McMillen
So this is not an adventure type article. This is something that I have been wanting to write for awhile… so here it goes. We live in a world with many cultures, languages, food types and many of us are willing to give those a try. For us, me especially, we have taken the world into our hands. Growing up and living in the USA for majority of my life I feel like I have been blinded. Even though I believe that I am a cultured child. Yes I may not know the language but I have the other aspects of the “cultured child”. I do not know 2 full languages only one. Of course I know bits and pieces of other languages such as Spanish, German and French, but other than that I could never have a full on conversation. Though if you think about it– have you looked to see how large the USA is? It is massive! With the land mass of Europe you could physically fit about 2-4 US states to fill in Europe. Europe is a “wholenother” ballgame. We could be in 4 countries in 1 day and be exposed to 4 different languages. Though if you drive just 10 hours in the states ,say Texas, you are still in Texas. Nothing against my home state of course, but it just comes with a perspective.
I will tell you a bit about myself. I have travelled to 27 countries in my lifetime. Yes I know many other that have done a ton more countries that I have. In two years, my family and I have gone to 14 of those. Only 3 of those was when I was in the US Navy. The rest were before I was even 5 years old. How amazing is that? Anyways back to culture. Culture gives our children first hand experience. It sometimes even takes you back in time. Culture is everything: language, architecture, food, people, basically all the institutions in Sociology. By the way, if you have not noticed, Sociology is actually what my degree is in. 🙂 Culture and travel go so far in depth with each other. Hence why the military lifestyle is amazing! Although sometimes it is hard, but something you get used to. The great thing is if you don’t like it where are stationed now.. wait a few years and you will be somewhere else anyways. What a great way to see the world… right?
So like I said language plays a part in a being a cultured child. Yes we may know our native language, but how many other languages do you know? When you go to the US, yes, believe it or not there are many cultures and customs in every single area. Honestly… just like any country in the world. One end of the country is not going to be the same as it is in the north, south, east or west. Think of Switzerland, in the western part; people speak French, the south speaks Italian and the north and east speak German. Same for the states. Since living overseas, it has really opened up my eyes. I am making it mandatory for all three of my children to learn an additional language. Of course it will be a language that I will also learn.
Travel travel travel
Yes we know it can be hard to travel with kids. It is a lot more expensive. BUT if you have the chance to do it even in the US– do it! Like I said culture, language is different everywhere. Since we moved to Germany, my family and I have seen MORE of the world than probably 70% (I am just throwing out a number) of American children. This number is just going to keep on going as long as we are in Europe. I am giving my children a history lesson that they can keep sharing for the rest of their lives. Just like their momma! Get out those travel planners and go!
Move to Another Country?
Has this ever crossed your mind? It has ALWAYS crossed my mind several times before we even moved here. Watching House Hunters International doesn’t seem to help. Everytime we go to a nice we always say “We could totally live here!” I knew that I wanted to show my children the world. Give it to them all wrapped in a box with bows and frilly paper. Though moving to another country has had its ups and downs. Moving somewhere where you do not know anyone, but that could be a good thing. You can start over fresh. The schooling part, my children attend an American school. Which of course has helped them all make friends very quickly. The only downside is that the school only teaches Spanish and German 1x per week for about 45 minutes. They need more. I want them to know more. But of course that is the Cultured Child in me!
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your business schedule to read my article! Are you a Cultured Child? Do you have Cultured Children? Tell us about your and your children’s experience below!