Photo credit: NYRRC
This weekend, we strolled down to the end of our block with Callum and Rory and watched the world stream by. It was the 40th running of the New York City Marathon, and 4th avenue, here in Brooklyn, was one of the main thoroughfares through our borough. As hordes of participants made their way past — whether on wheelchairs or running spiritedly — I shouted and cheered. “Go, France!” I encouraged the runners wearing t-shirts proclaiming their French origins. “Go, Australia!,” I cheered at others. “Go, Italia! Go, Japan! Go, USA! Go, Finland! Go, Denmark!” I have to admit I shouted just a little bit louder in encouragement of people from places I’d been or have a special fondness for. From Denmark, where I spent 5 months as an exchange student. From Texas, where I am from. From Scotland, from which my husband hails.
At one point, early in the cheering, I crouched down next to our 4-year-old, Callum, and explained, “These people came from all around the world to run in this race.” He seemed to understand.
One benefit of living in this very international city is that different cultures, styles and viewpoints are never far away, even when they’re not running by at the end of the block. Daddy is from Scotland. Our neighbor’s Daddy is from Argentina. Our babysitter is from Mexico. We like to think that, by exposing our children to these different influences, they come to realize that there’s a great big world out there beyond our Brooklyn brownstones. And someday, we hope, they’ll get to experience a lot of it themselves.
Knowing about the vastness of the world will, we hope, help them realize that humans living in one place aren’t all that different from those in another. It will help them understand that we all need band together when it comes to global issues like pollution and climate change. And we hope it will help them develop an appreciation for the little cultural gifts contributed by people all over the world — the flavors of pad thai, the joyful exuberance of playing the maracas, and the incredible softness of a scarf made of Chinese cashmere spun in Scotland and knitted in America.
I’ve written this entry as a part of the Tea Collection’s Little Citizens of the World blog contest. They make gorgeous children’s clothes, and I’d love to win a gift certificate. But that doesn’t make my sentiments any less sincere.