Disclosure :: This sponsored post is brought to you by our friends at Ursuline Academy.
5 Ways to Raise a Culturally Competent Child
Now more than ever, our world needs culturally competent citizens. Where do we start? Our future leaders. As parents, we are tasked with shaping and molding our children into the best version of themselves – setting them up to be leaders of their time. While we want them to excel in school and extracurriculars, how do we ensure that they make a true impact on the world? Cultural competency skills begin at home – teaching young minds how their thoughts, words, and actions impact others. Setting a strong foundation and helping kids learn to interact meaningfully and respectfully with those who are different from them is of utmost importance in this 21st century. Here are ways to raise an empathetic, culturally competent child.
Listen to Understand
In order to learn from others, we must first learn to listen to them attentively, with open minds, and make an effort to understand, not just to respond. Listening to understand allows us to hear another’s point of view while putting our own thoughts aside. Undivided attention and eye contact are meaningful ways to help someone feel heard. Practice this important act with your child and encourage him/her to do the same with others.
While it may sound cliché, the best way to teach empathy is to have your child “walk in someone else’s shoes.” Empathy may be the most important requisite for the development of cultural competency. Whether it is learning about different cultures or having open conversations with family and friends, empathy is the art of truly understanding another person’s way of life. In order to fully celebrate others, we must strive to recognize and appreciate their uniqueness.
To be the best version of ourselves, we must admit mistakes, learn from them, and always strive to work smarter. Mistakes shouldn’t be seen as failure, but rather a chance to improve and grow. Children should be encouraged to embrace mistakes and find solutions. Talking through challenges and finding new solutions are essential to growth. Admitting mistakes makes us humble. Through humility, we are able to focus less on ourselves and more on others.
Appreciating and learning from people with different perspectives is how we build a better world. It is important that children learn to value varying viewpoints. Celebrating others and lifting others up is a valuable means to being culturally competent. We must teach children that diversity is exactly what makes our world a richer, more interesting, and compelling place. Children need to know that just because someone thinks or looks differently, doesn’t mean they should be discounted in any way.
Never Stop Learning
Travel the world through virtual field trips, read about other cultures, and immerse yourself in their customs. Encourage your child to ask questions and explore. Let them celebrate international holidays, try new languages, and learn through arts and crafts. Create their very own passport and let them explore the world! And for the adults, you’re never too old to learn – join in on the fun and expand your cultural knowledge as well! Have open conversations and always be willing to learn new things.
These 5 ways are a great starting point to raising a culturally competent child. While they help further your success as a parent, know that in addition to these tips comes much openness and in-depth conversation. The topics of diversity, inclusion, and belonging can be rather complex to a child. In order to fully immerse ourselves and truly impact our children, we must be willing to engage in uncomfortable dialogue. In order to learn from our mistakes and shortcomings, we must be aware of the impact it has on others. Being open with our children lets them, in turn, be open with their peers – making our world a more accepting place.
Ursuline Academy of New Orleans, founded in 1727 and sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters, is a Catholic school for girls offering a strong educational environment from early childhood through a college preparatory secondary program. In a diverse community with an inspiring heritage, Ursuline Academy fosters spiritual formation, academic excellence, and a life-long commitment to Serviam: I will serve. The Academy values the uniqueness of each student, nurtures the whole person, develops leaders of confidence and compassion, and prepares them for life in a global society.
About the Author :: Christy Zurcher became an Ursuline girl at the young age of seven and graduated from Ursuline Academy of New Orleans in 2000. Christy’s Ursuline roots span three generations with her grandmother, sister and two aunts also graduating from the Academy. In 2004, she received a BA in Communications from Loyola University New Orleans. Christy returned to Ursuline in 2011 to serve as Director of Alumnae and, in 2018, became the Director of Communications. While in Communications, Christy led the Academy through branding efforts which have received international acclaim from the 2019 InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Awards and UCDA Design Awards. In June 2021, Christy transitioned into her current role as Director of Mission Integration.