My kids are growing up in a very different world than I grew up in...and I don't feel like I 'grew up' that long ago. There are obviously negative aspects to this, but there are also some amazing things about it.
For example, international travel was not even a consideration to me when I was young. Other continents seemed impossible to visit and it never crossed my mind other than in history or geography.
My kids have cousins who were born in Africa. They have had an opportunity to learn a lot about Ethiopia and love what they know about the culture. They ask Gage lots of questions (but I did have to tell them that I don't think Gage really rode a lion. I think he enjoyed the rapt attention and got carried away in his description.)
Both the white and brown-skinned cousins have a safe place to ask questions about differences, about why brown skin still has white finger tips and if your birth mom is white then is it possible to come out brown? (Hudson informed me he wishes God will give him brown skin.)Because we are homeschooling, we get to use our own reference points as we look at other countries and cultures. We have dear friends who are missionaries in India, in Honduras, in Argentina, and more. Another good friend went to London and because we face-timed him while he was there, Hudson learned that when it is morning here, it is night there. He is constantly asking what time it is in London and how that works.
Darla wants to move to South America and live in the rainforest because she is fascinated with the animals. When we looked at Argentina on a map and I reminded her that Carissa and Emmy are missionaries there, she asked "will you e mail Emmy and ask her if she's seen any of these animals?"
Awhile back we took care of our dear little friend Halle for the day.
Hudson thought he was being a help at lunch saying, "Look, Halle- dabo!" I wasn't sure what he was doing so didn't pay attention. But then later on a walk he said, "Halle- makina! Makina! Car, Halle."
Then I realized that my son was speaking Ahmaric because Halle has brown skin. Darla realized it at the same time and said, "Hudson! Halle was born in TEXAS."
I burst out laughing. We showed Hudson where Texas is on a map and explained that it's not quite the same as Ethiopia.
Last week Darla overheard me telling my mom on the phone about a Native American baby who needs foster placement. She interrupted with, "Mom! Can we take him? It would be so fun to learn another language!"
More explanation given; more learning about Native Americans.
When the kids were coloring some nativity sheets this month Hudson said, "Darla, did you color their skin brown?"
"Kind of. Jesus wasn't white like we're white, Hudson."
One part of homeschooling that Darla and I love is each week we read about a tribe or people group that doesn't have the Bible in their own language. We pray for them and talk about defining points of their culture. Darla is thinking she might like to go bring some Bibles to some people.
Although, she also has a hankering to do some digging in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt... once she found out all that was found in King Tut's tomb. Thank you internet- when she was interested in the assigned King Tut book we were able to go online and find all sorts of pictures and information to teach us more.
Hudson told me in the car today that for Christmas we should go the Himalayan mountains because "Mom, the snow never melts!"
Darla added, "Plus we could see some snow leopards."
I never had an urge to go to the Himalayans. I never cared to push around sand in Egypt and unless it's to zipline, the animals of the rainforest actually make me a little nervous. But suddenly it all sounds fun to do with these curious little sponges I live with.
The topper for me was Hudson a few weeks ago: "Darla, are you going to marry a boy with brown skin or white skin?"
"I don't know yet Hudson because I haven't decided who I'm going to marry."
Hudson got a shy little smile and said, "I want to marry a girl with brown skin...from Ethiopia."