I grew up watching Good Morning America and reading The Oregonian and the Wall Street Journal newspapers in the mornings while eating my oatmeal in our southeast Portland home. And in the evenings, we watched the Nightly News with Walter Cronkite. Then, on Sunday nights, it was our family tradition to watch 60 Minutes.
It’s no wonder that I became news junky, as they call it. Becoming a freelance journalist seemed so perfect for me and sometimes I confess that I am glued to the news a bit too much, if that is possible.
I do think that it is important to keep up with what is going on in the world. To be culturally aware. To know about the things happening beyond our own backyards. I am grateful for the exposure I had as a child to the news.
And now as a parent, I try to make sure that my kids know what is going on in the world. What is making news, what are the headlines, what is happening in communities next to us, states next door and countries across the ocean.
There are different ways we do this in our home. For starters, we (still) get the print edition of the daily paper, The Oregonian, yep. And then, I turn on the Nightly news while making dinner so my kids are exposed to the headlines around the world; I’ll switch between whichever station offers the national broadcast. In the mornings, I am a bit more careful with having the news on too long as I want quiet time with God and my kids, but I do turn the news on briefly for the national news segments of one of the morning shows.
Our kids need to know when there are wars and what countries are fighting and which wars we are involved in as a country. They need to learn about terrorist attacks and school shootings and police incidents both locally and globally. They need to learn about famine in Third World countries the persecution of innocent people of faith and the refugee crises and other hard things going on in the world.
And, they need to know about diverse cultures and art and music and the ways people live differently in other parts of the world.
And, as we engage with our children about culture and news on the world stage, it is a great opportunity to ask questions regarding events and incidents. What do they think and what are ways to change things in the world and what are ways to better the world.
Today was the first Democratic debate and I live streamed it from CNN on my computer, as we do not have cable; and I encouraged my 12-year-old to watch it with me. And I texted my twins who were at a friend’s house to watch it. And when the Republicans had their first two debates I watched it as well, and made my children know they were happening.
As our kids become culturally aware, they begin to develop a sense of caring more beyond their own four walls. And, hopefully, perhaps, want to travel beyond our four walls and make a difference out in the world.
What have you done with your kids to make them aware of what is happening around the world? Did you grow up watching the news? What was your favorite show that delved into cultures? Is Raising culturally engaged/culturally aware kids important as you consider your Parenting Philosophy?