"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour." ~ William Blake, Auguries of Innocence.
William Blake may not have been thinking of children when he wrote this, but this idea of teaching them to see the world in the smallest of things will be the greatest gift a parent can give to their child; and it can be found through international travel.
Children will learn so much in what they experience, and here are 3 great reasons children should travel internationally.
1. Not to take things for granted
Most kids in the world who have access to computers, t.v., x-box, Wii, and other forms of entertainment think they are either entitled to, or think that all kids have these electronic toys. It is when they see children in other countries who do not get the privilege of these forms of entertainment because they can't afford it or don't see the use for it. When seen in this perspective, they may learn how fortunate they are to have these things.
Food can be seen this way too. How many of you have tried explaining to your children that other children tonight won't get the privilege of eating tonight? I told my 10 year old to take the rest of his pop tart with him to school as he can eat it on his way. Next thing I see is the pop tart in the trash! Argh! He said it was getting soggy. Fine I told him, and I ate it right in front of him. He told me I was gross, but I told him I am not wasting that little bit that was left.
2. Try new things
Each country has their own ways of doing things. For example, many of us go to church on Sunday, but we don't always stop during the week to continue our worship. In places like India, worship is an everyday occurence. Seeing others so devoted to prayer may be an inspiration to your child to do it everyday too.
Countries eat differently then we do as well. Getting them to try something different may be a challenge, but they should be urged to try a new food. All three of my children 18, 14, and 10 know that before they diss the food, they have to at least try it. I have told them that it is better to do so now and tell people, "I have tried that, and I don't like it," instead of people urging them later through dares and people hounding them to try it. Now they eat smoked oysters, roll mops--herring with the pickle wrapped inside, sushi, and frog legs.
3. Learn from different cultures
Educators have proven that children under the age of 5 have a huge window for the opportunity to learn a secong language and math much more quickly than other children not exposed to these things at an early age. When traveling, you should encourage your child to learn and speak the words in the country you are traveling in. Not only is it educational, but it teaches them respect for the people. Besides, you won't find a country that is against children; many love them and know how precious they are.
I tell my 18 year old that I don't want to see her settled down until she has traveled and experienced life, especially if it's in another country. The world looks much different when you have traveled and are exposed to things that many people only read about. With these 3 great reasons children should travel, they will see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.