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Expat Halloween and the Importance of the Pumpkin!


I  never met a pumpkin I didn’t like.

When I lived abroad and got ready to celebrate another international Halloween…I needed to get all my ducks (or pumpkins)  in a row. This was always hard when living in a new country or location and you are trying to celebrate American Halloween for the first time in that place.

When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers.  Tis near Halloween.

I realize it is now October 31st,  but for many expats, the planning of Halloween started long before October. Some people put things into their suitcases from this past summer holiday in plans for the upcoming Halloween. Others command the suitcase space of their traveling spouse to ensure that treats are in their new home country before this candy loaded holiday.

What I hadn’t realized is how this impacts places like Canada. This photo was taken on July 31st at a sale at Loblaws in Westboro, Ottawa. This means there were only 92 more shopping days left before Halloween.

Early shopping for Halloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When many Expats move, they have this vision that they can build up their lives into some nicely sugar-coated layered experience. They want to blend their home culture into their new culture.

Making layer after layer build up into a wonderful, beautiful experience for the whole family. They are just like kids going trick and treating, they want all their old and favorite candies in their tick and treat bags along with some new and exotic candies.

They want to cling on to some of their background, their history, and their Halloween rituals.

Halloween pumpkins

Expectations are hard to meet!

Parents need to be careful and connect with what is unique about this holiday for your family. As an expat, you can easily get sidetracked and forget what is most important for your family. You get worried about your child’s interactions. You worry about the exposure your child has to something different from his or her home environment. You fear that your child will miss out!

I have talked to a lot of five-year-olds and their parents from around the world. Here are a few things I have been told about Halloween. Remember my sources are five-year-olds!

Austria – We leave bread and water out at night for the dead people.

Belgium – We light candles for dead people in our family.

 Canada  – The best part is the Jack O’Lanterns!

China – ‘Teng Chieh’ we put food and water by the photos of our dead family. We have lots of lanterns.

Czechoslovakia – We put one chair by the fire for each person in our family, even the dead people.

 England – Our pumpkins or ‘punkies’ are made out of large beets. We sing a ‘Punkie Night Song.’

 France – We also see pumpkins at McDonald’s near Halloween. We are all ‘scary’ not ‘fairy princesses.’ We get treats in the stores, not at your home.

 Germany – We have to be careful on Halloween, and we can’t use knives.

 Hong Kong – ‘Yue Lan’ (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) It is about spirits!

 Ireland – it is just like in the USA. We do costumes and go trick-or-treating. We play ‘snap-apple,’ (an apple on a string and you try to bite it) and ‘knock-a dolly’ (where you ring the doorbell and run away).

 Indonesia – We don’t have Halloween, but we like candy.

 Japan – We don’t have this Halloween. We have ‘Obon Festival’ with our dead family members. We clean the house and the graves. It is in July.

 Korea – We have ‘Chusok.’ It is in August, we visit our dead family and take them rice or fruit.

 Spain – We have ‘El Dia de Los Muertos’ (days of the dead), but it is a happy celebration. We go to the grave and have a picnic. We have parades.

 Sweden – We have ‘alla Helgons Dag.’ We get to have a vacation day from school.

But this is our life, and as Expats, we try to fit into the host country, but most American’s want their children to get scared, overindulge in candy, wear costumes and even let the local children have this holiday.

Halloween Night Pumpkins

 

Family rituals are important

Children tend to love family rituals, even if they don’t admit it. Rituals provide a sense of security and can be soothing. A family ritual is anything your family does together deliberately. The routine of whatever you do is what counts. It can be anything. Just make sure you do it consistently.

Rituals are emotionally enriching. It is never too late to start a ritual.

Some children may resist being involved in such rituals. But if routines are presented in a non-controlling manner, and you manage your expectations, all family members will ‘get on board’ much more readily than you thought.

I have worked with many families that want to start building closer family time, and sometimes the rituals begin with just one person, but if that person feels it is essential and keeps trying sooner or later, the event can become a ritual.

Sometimes the ritual comes from having another culture in your life

We have often celebrated Halloween over the top! In Duri, Indonesia the expat engineers took over one of the houses on camp and made a truly ‘scary house’ for all of us to experience. I am not sure who had more fun the adults making the house or the kids going through it.

When you let a group of engineers take over the event, it can be way over the top!

I thought the eels in the stairwell with plexiglass that you walked over them was a great touch!  The pig’s head that moved in and out of the toilet scared me; I can’t imagine what it did to my seven-year-old.  The electrical engineers did a great job with the lights and sounds.  What took the engineers two full days to complete allowed all of us to be like kids again on that Halloween night.

Years later, I wonder if people are still calling that one home the haunted house?  I know the family that moved into it only a few weeks after Halloween. They had no idea what it took to get their empty house back to normal.

Some of my highlights of Halloween living overseas with our young children were carving our pumpkins –

One time our pumpkin was a green coconut!  We have used Cassava Root to be a pumpkin in Indonesia. We used a Taro root as our pumpkin in Nigeria. Now that was a scary ‘pumpkin.’

Root vegetable in the market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have made sure that our unique global situations allowed us to still have Jack o’ Lanterns that are uniquely ours. It has become a family ritual.

Families who move together – grow together.

Halloween tradition

 

Photos:

Cassava Roots – http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44493000/jpg/_44493567_02nigeria_afp.jpg
fancy carved pumpkins http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124412397@N01/2962675525/in/photolist-5vNudv-5vSLhh-5vSLXQ-5vSMZW-5vSNXj-5vSPpA-5vSPyb-5wFHwT-5wL3vA-5wMPqa-5x3TWv-5x3XeV-5x3Y8x-5xuiTH-5xHcG2-5xWN7c-5y57h7-5BiPJf-5BJKm9-5Cexc1-5DtTqE-5Nddv4-5NhtLq-5QQikP-6aqioL-6bYozM-6xGtDz-6xGtKt-6xGtNH-6xGtR4-6xLCqG-6xLCtw-71Zedv-75mvd7-76CAMk-77KG2c-77ZLJp-7a7Fvr-7abvfs-7aBR4a-7aFDtE-7aFDY3-7b5g3T-7bz9Gn-7cpKLw-7fENbM-7gfK2W-7gKNAh-7hiRsB-7ipDvY-7mhGSH
peanut free: http://www.flickr.com/photos/93663762@N00/4872539224/in/photolist-8qz39Y-7E6yWk-dpRtDc-dqxymx-aBjdrE-8uXDLT-8uXDQa-fYyQ2W-8NNSeK-aALxBh-8Pz1Pm-dgdv7U-aAXkYY-88fysa-aAB3oK-at1upA-dq2SLW-dq2GUp-dq2SNY-dq2GNk-dq2GQT-dq2SRh-arcK1B-dpBaRe
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Do words matter?


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Word Choice is Important

I believe that they do.

“Mom, I am so ugly.”

How do you respond?  Please tell me you are not one of those parents that say, “No honey, you are not ugly.”

Kids love to announce that they are not good at something. They usually do it just after they try something new and challenging, and they say it with finality as if issuing a verdict. I’m not good at math! I’m not good at volleyball. They also like to throw out “I’m ugly” or “I’m fat”  or “I’m not macho”.

At that moment, your parental instinct is to fix the situation.

You say, “Oh yes you are!”

HINT –  This never works.

You have just put your kid in the position of actively defending his or her ineptitude. It is a lose-lose. As a parent ignore the instinct to fix things. We often use a word that works for the moment, but it is not the correct word or not the word that really marks how we really feel.  Yet, this is how our children learn how to express their emotions.

Since we are global nomads and often move, I would use that time to voice how I was feeling and allowed my children to express how the move was making them feel. It was always an interesting time since family members are seldom on the same emotional wavelength when it comes to moving.  Our timing was often off.

Model this for your children when you are in the moving process!  Imagine how much they would learn about emotions.

When you have a child that proudly voices they are dumb, ugly, or unable to do something. Simply add the word “yet”.

Add the “yet”  in a matter-of-fact tone – “I am not good at math”, becomes “You are not good at math yet.”

“I am not good at volleyball” becomes “You are not good at volleyball yet.”

The message is: Of course you are not good ” because you haven’t worked at it. But when you do, you will be good.

I’m sure some teens roll their eyes when they hear it. But I also think it has an effect because it tells a clear story about the value of effort and struggle, and that story is aligned with the way the brain grows.

Word cards are helpful even at home

When I worked in kindergarten classrooms, I would often make “word family cards”. I would show the kids how we can go from “Beautiful to Ugly” or voice our opinions about a peer’s artwork without hurting our friend’s feeling. We were still being honest with our feelings. If we didn’t really like something we would be comfortable with saying, “Your picture is fine.” Everyone knew this meant it was not beautiful and not ugly.  Kids were always happy to get honest feedback.

I was always proud to hear a five-year-old tell another child that this painting was magnificent!  Some of my students would love to hear that their horror picture was revolting!

beautiful to ugly

What I loved the most was seeing a child sorting out the cards to pick out the exact word he wanted to use. In the “Beautiful to Ugly” card set, I used a pack of old playing cards and glued a word on each card.  I then numbered them in order so the kids could understand how one word might be more in line if what they wanted to say or the next word choice might be better.  Some classes might only need a few cards to understand that word choice is important. Then add more cards later on in the school year.

Build up your child’s word choice

If your child is often stuck on one word.  “Gross”, “Bummer’, “Dork”  or  “Neat” were common during my growing up years. Heard “Oogly” lately? “Sick” or “Flop”?  JOMO seems like a great thing to me.

If you have a hard decision to make or your child is trying to make a decision – PLEASE check out the chart above. It is a helpful emotion and feelings words to give you a way to categorize how you are feeling about that decision. What a great gift to give to your child, time to help them work through how they are feeling. If they don’t want to do it with you…pick out a personal situation that you are going through or have gone through and just show them how you were feeling at that time. Show them this chart and then give them space.  They might appreciate you – even if they never tell you!

 

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Privacy – A need for all humans


As a child, adolescent and family therapist the issue of child safety and privacy is often a topic in my discussions with families. Everyone needs to have privacy, but it is a fine line between safety and
the guidance that will make a child and a parent feel comfortable.

I encourage families to use the Webster Dictionary definition of
privacy “the quality or state of being apart from company and
observation.” Privacy in this way means ‘down time’ and ‘alone
time.’ With eight and nine-year-olds,  it also means in a safe
environment such as their bedroom or alone in the family room.

Privacy does not mean having a playmate over and ‘Mom can’t come into the room.’ Play with peers is not an area that needs privacy at
this age; adult supervision can still be necessary.

Privacy does not mean being online.

Being connected should always be
in an area where the adult can observe, interact and supervise with
children the ages of eight and nine. I encourage all computers to be in a
public area of the house. Also, a bedroom computer can interfere with
sleep.

Children do need the time to ‘not be accountable’ for the time or just
the space to sit, think and do nothing. Sometimes play is not really to play; it is just a calming activity that a child enjoys.  Parents asking “What did you make?”, “What legos did you build?” and “What books did you read?” can cause the child to be under-stress even in their downtime.

Kids need to play. Kids need to have free time.  Kids need to have downtime.

 

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Siblings – let them fight!


After so many parents came into my office complaining about the relationship between their children.  Fighting. Fighting. Fighting.  I always tell the parents to rethink the fighting. Siblings who simply ignore each other and have less fighting – their relationship remains cold and distant in the long term.

As we age, it is important that our children remain in contact with each other

Dr. DeHart at New York College compared how four-year-old children treat their younger siblings versus their best friends. The kids made seven times as many negative and controlling statements to their siblings as they did to friends.

Parents can help an older child see how they treat siblings by asking a simple question. “Would you say that to your friend?” and let the child reflect on that.

Parents can also show their kids photos from the past where they looked like they were having fun and enjoying each others company. Remind them that they can connect without fighting.

Yeah! We get to move! And there is a big truck!!

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All parents have lost it …at sometime


With school now in full swing for many families, I wonder if any of you have lost it? Yelled when they should not have? Walked away in the middle of conversations with their children?

Of all the families I have worked with I have always had parents share one time they “lost it”.

 

I think we owe it to ourselves to prepare our children for times when
we might not act as expected or we might need them to understand. I
call these ‘teachable moments’ that happen before you actually lose it.

Examples:

1. You see a Mom yelling and yelling at her kids don’t just quickly
walk by and pretend it did not happen. Go to a place far enough away
from the scene so you can talk to your own child and ask “What do you
think is going on there?” Then have a discussion on why a parent might
behave that way.

2. TV is also a great place to see abnormal behavior so talk about
what you are both seeing. When the young star comes home pregnant and
the mom just smiles ask your child “What do you think your best
friend’s Mom might say or do?” “What do you think might say?”

3. When you see a person getting medical attention don’t hurry your
child by.  Just slowly walk away, and then later talk about the situation. “What
happened to her kids?”, “What do you think was the most important that
that child could have done in that situation?” “What would you do if
Mommy fainted at the Mall?”

Travel, Stress and Me

I have traveled around the world so many times with my own two
children that they have had lots of teachable moments because travel
tends to bring out the worse in some people. Use those moments to
show your children that humans have different behaviors according to
the emotions they are feeling. They only thing you can do as a human
is to really understand your emotions and how your actions cause
reactions in others.

One time I thought I was going to pass out in a major overseas airport
and I said to my son that I was feeling really sick. He replied,
“Don’t worry Mom, I will be sure to grab your purse because it has our
passports and you won’t want it to get lost.” Smart boy.

After the fact as parents, we must always be responsible for our
actions. The best way to address this is not to apologize for our
actions but to tell our kids “Mommy wishes that I would have done
this or this instead, I am sorry I didn’t respond like I wanted to at
the moment.” You need to model appropriate behavior on what to do if
you happen to blow an interaction. This is the best way for children
to learn to be honest about their feelings and yet responsible enough
for their actions.

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She’s a cow – Are these words you want to hear about your daughter?


school counselorsDoes your child stand out like at “cow” in her new school?

Questions to ask your TCK or CCK!  As an expat student moving to a new school, how do you stand out amongst the vast sea of other students? How do you get potential friends to pick you over others? You need to be remarkable. Being academically good is, well, not good enough. You need to be the purple cow.

What color are you?

The purple what? The purple cow means someone who is out of the ordinary. In a pasture, a purple cow would stand out from the rest; you’d immediately notice the cow. A purple cow garners attention. When your child is a new student to a school, he or she deserves recognition. As a parent, we hope this is positive attention.

The term purple cow came from the title of a poem written by Gelett Burgess in 1895 but was popularized more recently by Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow.

Things that new students can do to draw friends to seek them out

According to my children

  • Your face says it all, even if you are nervous a smile can go a long way.
  • Don’t cling to the first person that says hello to you.
  • Never have an opinion of a teacher, kid or school event the first two weeks, give yourself time to see what matters. Being quick to have an opinion might isolate you from some great friends.

 For your older children:

Here is a short set of ideas on presenting yourself to a new school in a more remarkable way, thus grabbing everyone’s attention and separating yourself from others in your class.

  • Have a unique, but honest way to greet people. If you have a lovely Spanish accent, welcome them in Spanish even if you are from Tokyo.
  • Wear a discrete necklace or bracelet from your past “home” so it is a conversation piece. Wearing your name in hieroglyphics might get you a friend.
  • Tape postcards from your favorite places on the front of your notebooks, so it shows your name and the locations that you love to visit. An excellent way to connect with other students.

These ideas assume your child is already proficient with making friends if they are not, then improving their basic skills should take priority because it does them no good to try new things if they can’t make eye contact, smile and be interested in other students.

PS on a personal note:  If your child asks for a horse – they want a horse! I was lucky enough to grow up in Kansas and if we wanted a horse…we got a horse. I got Mr. Brown one snowy Christmas morning. I never asked for a purple cow.

Photos:

http://flic.kr/p/RgVWf
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mobikefed/2843257633/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/miletbaker/5050558130/

When your child doesn’t get the teacher you want!


“My perception is the best perception”

This is what most parents must overcome when it comes to evaluating a child’s upcoming teacher.

I have worked on five continents and the worry about the new teacher is world-wide. Having worked with 8000+ families, I do have a few tips on how to make the best of this situation. This is a topic I can talk about for hours so I will answer some of the questions and stay on your target.

How do most schools make classroom assignments?

This is totally up to a school district or private school. It runs the gamut from random to sophisticated sociograms based on good academic and social working pods. Some schools try to balance out gender, nationalities, academic abilities and needs (Language, Learning support, Behavioral). Other schools start with parental requests of teachers and allowing children to pick one or two ‘friends’. One school I worked with gave each child from the same family with the same teacher so the teacher and parent connection would grow with each child.

When a parent requests a ‘certain teacher’ sometimes it is for all the wrong reasons.

Some teachers are very good with PR but not so good at teaching, other teachers might be the one who connects the best with the kids causing more educational progress for the child, but these same teachers might find the adult interactions, not their strength. Guess which teacher will have the best reputation of being the better teacher?

When parents don’t get their ‘first choice’ they must trust in the educational process and believe that the school has their child’s best interest at heart. Every school wants what is best for the student. I always tell parents to take care of the “kid” and let the school take care of the “student”.  Subtle different but helps gets the point across that sometimes what we see as a parent that might be good for our ‘kid’ might not be in their best interest as a “student”.

The best way to start any school year is to stop thinking and talking about this new year -the unknown.

Instead, start talking about your child’s strengths and successes from other school years. All children approach things feeling stronger if they are reminded of past successes. When a child comes into my office upset about moving to our new school, I always ask them what they did really well at their old school. We chat about what things they were successful with and what things they did to make and keep friends. This focus on their strengths is what makes them feel good about themselves, parents should do this also.

Focus on your child’s strengths not the unknown interactions with a new teacher or a new situation.

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First Impressions vs. Fixing the Bad


How something appears is always a matter of perspective

How something appears is always a matter of perspective

As the author of “Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child,” I have worked with over 8000+ families as they relocate around the world.

The child’s image (social or self) is critical to how successful they will be in the school setting.  It seems like summer holidays just started, but International teachers and students are already heading back to get ready for another school year. What happens if your child negatively starts off the school year?

 

Bad raps happen

Getting a bad rap is as easy as one lousy comment made at the wrong time, or not reaching out to the right kids on campus. Sometimes it can be for liking the ‘bad’ teacher. It can be for wearing a weird t-shirt or even not wearing your hair in a style they are used to seeing. Amazing how quickly a community will judge others. Even more amazing how this happens in schools!

Parents can be vital in helping their child learn to negotiate in this crucial social climate. Not all parents help! Sometimes, parents can do more harm for their child because they are the ones creating the negative feelings, so it goes from the mother or father being pushy to the child being obnoxious in the minds of others in the community. When in fact, the child has not done anything.

Don’t set your child up for failure because as a parent you are overstepping your boundaries. As parents, we all want to connect with our child’s teacher, but she doesn’t need a new BFF. Other parents see your interactions, and it might create some negative feelings from other parents as well as the teacher.

What parents can do

Change

Change the perception

Using simple language and being truthful. “In the past, my daughter was rude to others, but now she is older she understands how important it is to work together on those joint projects.”  These type of words given to other parents while working on the PTA, or attending school events will help shift the thoughts about your child. But a parent can never take the responsibility for their child’s behavior and fix it.  If your child needs to make an apology, it has to come from your child, not you.

Tips for kids

#1 – Search out a child that is well liked and try to see why you are so different. Are you standoffish and he is warm and welcoming – seek to master one skill this ‘expert’ does that you do not do?

#2 – Compare yourself to the peer group you would want to be involved with. Do they all wear the school colors and you only wear black? Don’t copy them but think about how you present yourself.  Most kids want to connect and be part of a group. Perhpas, you could acquire some of their articles that they have. If everyone carries a backpack and you still have a roller case for your books and supplies – change. If everyone eats the school lunch, try to give up your homemade brown paper bag sandwiches.

#3 – Understand the importance of good impressions and see each new situation in a school as unique and give it your best shot. Sometimes a change in one class will leak over into other situations you are involved in. With any change, kids and teachers will start seeing you in a new light. You don’t have to be the quiet Freshman you were or the awkward Sophomore you were – hone your intuitive style and make a fresh start this year.

Tips for Parents

#1 – Do not say to  your child’s teacher, “Must be nice to have had the summer off!” Instead, say something like “I hope you’re refreshed and ready for ten months of go, go, go!” Remember that a lot of teachers spend their summers upgrading their credentials or planning coursework. Keep your passive-aggressive comments to yourself.

#2 – Don’t try to discuss major issues during the drop-off time, instead set up a meeting with the teacher. Major issues need to be brought to the teacher’s attention ASAP such as a death in the family, a divorce or a recent move, but these can be done by email, so the teacher knows the needed information. Let the dust settle at the start of the new school year and then set up an appointment for the minor things you feel the teacher should know about your child. Remember when you are dropping off or picking up your child, the teacher still had 24+ kids that he or she is taking care of so this is not the time to talk.

#3 – Don’t freak out over class placement! Not everybody gets the teacher they “think” they want. Another teacher might bring something unexpected to the table. A child not being with their best friend might open up a whole new world of socialization and skills.

Good thoughts

Notes:
Photo – http://awakentoyourdeeperself.com/healing-limiting-core-beliefs-shifting-perspectives/
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Working with Kids this Summer —Words Worth Knowing


I have had my fair share of working with kids during the summer. It has been in summer youth camps, vacation bible school and tutoring. I always want to let the child know I appreciate the work they are doing in the summer.

 

Do you say “nice job?”

When I get stuck and want to say “Wow, nice job” because I am in a hurry or have too many children to get to, I have trained myself to say, “It looks like you put a lot of effort in that project.” With the “wow’ comment I would see the kids look at me.

With the ‘effort’ comments, I always get a smile and often the child will tell me what part he/she is most proud of without me asking. I like to offer this type of opened ended comments first to see where the conversation takes us.

Let the child guide your understanding.

Sometimes I think the picture is so colorful but the child will point out that he put a lot of effort into making the lines straight so the picture frame is perfect. If I had not allowed him to guide my understanding of what he is proud of we would have never had this conversation.

It does take more work to have the genuine conversation but I know it is more real to the kids and therefore more valuable. I often hear them re-telling other students about our conversations.

 

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How great is your CQ Knowledge? CQ?


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What is Cultural Intelligence (CQ):

CQ is the capability to function effectively in culturally diverse situations (Ang & van Dyne, Handbook of Cultural Intelligence, 2008). It predicts and explains why some people thrive and some struggle in culturally diverse settings. It consists of four complementary capabilities or dimensions: CQ Drive, CQ Knowledge, CQ Strategy, and CQ Action.

I believe that our cultural intelligence is not fixed; it develops and grows through experiences. This is why it is vital that your global nomads interact with their host country. With your family values as a framework, you can foster cultural understanding and respect with your children thus giving them this benefit for their whole life-time.

CQ Knowledge, i.e., the level of understanding about how cultures are similar and different, plays an enormous part of being an expat child but it is not the most important thing a child learns living overseas. My children learned how to give a greeting in Thailand, how to behave in an Islamic environment and how to sing happy birthday in five different languages before they reached the age of 10.

Real learning came from two key areas of all international assignments —motivation and action

When I look back over my children’s time as expats, these two areas of motivation stick out in my mind because they were driven by children under the age of ten. Please note I will be using ‘he’ instead of ‘he or she’ but this does not mean all of these references are about my son. (He has told me I need to stop writing about him…hum?)

Wanting to make a difference in a child’s life, he got friends to donate small items to sell so they could support a child going to school. The East Cipinang trash dump a poverty-stricken area in Jakarta needed a way for the trash pickers to get a better education. It was the motivation of my child to get others involved so children living on the dump could go to an area school.

After having malaria, it became clear that if expat kids can get it easily, then more local children need essential long-lasting insecticidal nets to sleep under. Raising awareness has been an enormous undertaking since there are millions of reported cases of malaria and many of those causing death among children under the age of five. Using summer time to continue to raise awareness in the USA to help funding go to countries with lots of malaria.

These areas of action were very important to at least one of my children.

Rescue and conservation of distressed elephants in Thailand. By spending time caring for the elephants at the Sanctuary and Rescue Center for elephants in Northern Thailand (Chiang Mai), he showed action. Elephants are officially classified as an endangered species. There are 3000 to 4000 elephants in Thailand. Elephants form their social groups, and they even have different personalities. The Sanctuary and Rescue Center is always adding to their herd, as they look for elephants in desperate need of care.

Feed the Needy in Lagos, Nigeria by spending time preparing the food and serving it, gives a child the understanding that we need to be grateful for what we have but also we need to have empathy and compassion for others who have so much less. Action like this that is on-going and demanding are actual examples of expats around the world making a difference.

Caring for the Reef system can be a worldwide experience when you summer in Roatan, Honduras. This is where you live off the second longest barrier reef system in the world, and yet you live during the school year in Thailand. The ability to clean up the reefs, care about the worldwide implications of trash in our waterways and see the impact divers can have with they are not environmental careful is terrific experiences.

Children are naturally interested in others. Children naturally care about others. To motivation and action to happen in an expat family, parents just need to add exposure and time. If parents expose children to “real life” situations in your home environment, children have compassion. If parents don’t rush but allow a child time to feel the situation and have an opinion about the situation usually “action” will occur.

Often as expat parents, we are swamped and as all parents know it is much easier to do something ourselves than to ask our eight-year-old to do something. Stop. Let your child do what they feel might make the situation better. Let them express their compassion.

Expat parents are well advised to invest in their children by helping them to increase their CQ with real-life experiences now.

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Julia Simens:  Helping Families Worldwide

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Travel These Days; Its Almost This Easy!