World Wonder

Inspiring Global Citizenship

Guest Blog – The Smallest Global Citizens Know No War!

on September 11, 2014
Two adults holding hands with little girl.

Val and her grandniece in Ireland.

Recently my hubby and I took a trip to Ireland with our nephew, his wife, and their one year old. She’s my pal! We tagged along to watch our grandniece while her parents, ‘the kids’ we call them, attended a friend’s wedding in a castle. Who gets married in a castle? The answer is the Generation X’ers*. Those powerhouse individuals who are abundantly smart, highly energized and nonconforming. Although well-traveled, I thought this trip would be an adventure and it was!

Observing this trio easily maneuver airport security, foreign money exchanges, language barriers, travel routes, pubs, people, ancient ruins and war-zone streets with their toddler was invigorating for me. It ignited a ray of hope that had been waning. I’m convinced that our children (you) will set the stage for a more loving, stronger and tolerant earth to raise global citizens.

Our trip revealed a classroom in every crevice, like a universal design for learning (UDL) setting where there are no boundaries and multiple representations of our senses are in full throttle. We drove beautiful Irish landscapes and sad barren streets. We were stopped by animals (cows and sheep crowd sourcing) that taught me strength and endurance for the sacredness of land. Music enriched my ears with stories that held further curiosity. Ancient castles appealed to my interest in world history. Spoken languages taught me humility. It is amazing when you stop and listen with all your senses, especially your heart, how information can unfold into deep learning like never before.

My nephew was particularly interested in Northern Ireland. Opposed to this, I was out-ruled. Now, I understand the lesson for me and readers of this blog. Both war-torn cities and their people had seen the worst in their government, leaders, and neighbors. Hatred built on religious intolerance and lack of basic civil rights had sunk deep into children who grew up to be adults with “scars” deeply blazing.

Image of a mural.

Political mural in Ireland.

We saw segregated schools, barbed wire playgrounds and anti-protest murals in dark graphic proportion. Each screaming names of women, children, and men murdered for a cause and depicting some awful chaos. We encountered protest bonfires piled high on a city street ready to commemorate the past. Yet, as we pushed our Ave’s stroller into a pub to share a meal, meeting stares from locales, as our eyes met, a calm, deeper understanding passed between us. “This child knows NO WAR. She is here without bias to learn — not to relive the past, but to see what the future may hold.”

Having this experience renewed my pledge to the world. Today, I will set an example to honor the teachings of my young family and my pal, little Ave. I will look at the world from her perspective and see NO WAR ahead. I will ask for peace in my heart and envision it placed directly into the world’s hands – your hands. I will encourage understanding, acceptance and tolerance to create kinder habits.

Whether you venture across the world to teach or are a professional teacher, loving parent, adoring aunt, neighbor, youth pastor, or government official – you are responsible to offer your hand in peace. It is up to us to encourage a different world and I know we can do it!

Here are some thoughts and resources to help you set a path of global citizenship – one that we can be proud of and deserve.

  • Tap into stories, video, art, posters, props, and music to introduce children to other cultures.
  • Create a reader’s theater where children might act out other’s life experiences to help them “feel the part.”
  • Invite discussions of real-world events to help children understand what’s happening around them. Value their ideas and creative solutions. They have the answers.
  • Seek opportunities to connect with all faiths, colors and ages using technology. (See 50 uses of Skype)
  • Embrace learning individuality. Squash hatred and bullying.
  • Emphasize learning is for all people, no matter their disability, race, or religion and teach social skills to children.

*Generation X’ers are individualistic, self-sufficient, digitally literate, professionals, worldly, and value choices.

Valerie Chernek is a freelance PR and Social Media Marketer for the Ed-Tech Industry. She lives in Maryland and has worked for several leading software publishers and non-profits. Val is a strong advocate for teachers and children with disabilities and a literacy tutor in her community. She has written articles about technology for learning and has a thriving Twitter account to share educational news and best practices.

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