I am having a hard time talking about babyfood or any food this week. My heart really aches for everything that has been happening around us since the election. The fear, the anxiety, the darkness that seems to be surrounding us all. I am saddened by everything, but particularly saddened that our little ones are having to navigate through such weighty issues at such a young age.
One thing that has helped this past week is simply being around my two little girls. Being 5 and 2.5 years old brings a sense of pure innocence and happy energy to our home. Their needs are few–love, hugs, food and Anna and Elsa dress-up clothes. Kirina and Ela spin around the living room literally singing with glee.
I suppose that is how it should be at this age.
But I realized something pretty important in watching them play. Seeds, of everything, get planted in them at such an early age. Want them to eat diverse? Start young! Want them to be compassionate? Start young! Want them to have manners and be respectful? Start young! It feels overwhelming to think that YOU, as a parent or caregiver are tasked with teaching them all these things. Yes, it’s scary, but wow. You alone have the power to mold your child into someone who is full of love, open-mindedness and compassion. Someone who will be a global citizen.
For me personally, I want to make sure my little ones learn about all of the different cultures and customs in the world. How we all may look and sound different, but are the same on the inside and have the same color blood. That each culture has something wonderful just waiting to be discovered. A new custom or birthday ritual. A different way of cooking or eating your favorite fruit or vegetable. Merely realizing that your curiosity should lead you on a new adventure, instead of fearing what is different.
We have so much to learn from one another. Fun, amazing things that can enrich your heart and mind.
If you are looking for ways to raise a globally aware citizen, someone who is open-minded and curious, try introducing some new ideas. Something as simple as a pasta noodle can go a long way in teaching diversity. From Italian spaghetti, to the Japanese ramen noodle, to the Southeast Asian rice noodle. Venture out to different enclaves in your neighborhood to try new restaurants. Find a favorite Portuguese place or eat Biriyani at an Indian place. Meet new people and learn about them. Teach kids that culture and diversity are everywhere. And that’s fun to embrace diversity.
Food isn’t going to heal our nation so instantly. I know that. But it’s one way to bring everyone together. And it gives me comfort, in times like these, that no matter what is happening around me, I have the power to teach and raise and expose my children to the world and all of it’s beautiful citizens.
Please be kind to each other in the coming weeks and always.
From Kirina and Ela’s dining room chairs to your little one’s, bon appetit!