In this modern age when technology fakes reality and suspicion overcomes trust, we are more prone to isolation, prejudice and mistrust than ever before. What’s alarming is that it becomes a modus vivendi and that our children are fully and unquestionably caught in between. Is this the path to our unescapable destiny?
How and when did we become overprotective and paranoid parents?
I sit and wonder, how is it possible for someone who had a perfectly normal childhood ( played outside all day with the kids in the neighbourhood and believed that the postman was an honourable person delivering nothing but the mail) to turn into an apprehensive parent who dismisses the very values she/he grew up with and enrols the new trend of overprotectiveness and paranoia? What made this change in attitude possible and at such rapid speed? And where are we heading to? But most importantly, is it reversible? Can we do something about it?
In all this doom and gloom scenario, I found that there was hope and if we searched and reached beyond our familiar cocoon we might even come up with a solution. If “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” as Mark Twain used to say, I’m sure that it can cure us of mistrust and isolation too.
It’s true that with the help of internet and globalisation, information and products from distant parts of the world reach us instantly or in no time, shallowly satisfying our curiosities and needs and leaving us with no urge to leave our comfort zone and explore the world beyond our frontiers.
But is this enough to understand the cultural identities and values of those parts of the world? Or does this entitle us to pass judgement and give verdicts on nations or communities that we’ve never directly interacted with?
Travel teaches your kids that that “despite all differences we, humans, share the same core values, interest and hopes and that no race, ethnicity or nation is superior to all others”.
My humble guess is: no. And I believe that it’s us, parents across the world, that should make common cause in opposing these trends and bring together our kids to discover, freely and without prejudices, the beauty and diversity of this world. To make them sensitive to the fact that despite all differences we, humans, share the same core values, interests and hopes and that no race, ethnicity or nation is superior to all others.
It is with this in mind, that I took my daughter Maya (Maya in Wanderland), 6 years old at that time, on an adventurous and inspiring trip around the world that lasted a year and brought us to destinations beyond our imagination and to people that altered and changed for the better our perception of the world and what lies within. On this journey, on top of the nature and human beauty we discovered, we have both learned quite a few things:
– the consequences of climate change and how they impact our humble existence, regardless of citizenship, location or economic status
– the importance of tolerance and cooperation despite differing identities or faiths and how countries made of tens of different religious or racial communities have managed to peacefully coexist and even thrive
– how fragile this world is and how keeping the balance comes down to us, individuals, not political leaders and parties
– how we should all stick together and serve the greater nation which is the humankind
Maybe, Maya isn’t now able to articulate these ideas as I do, but she makes it clear everyday, through simple words and actual deeds that the process IS reversible if we put some efforts into it. That trust can be restored and reality can be lived and experienced first hand and not virtually through smart electronic devices. If we only cared a bit more about our spiritual comfort than the material one, we would look into a brighter, more liberal and sustainable future.
Travel with your kids, take them out of their comfort zone and let them adapt to change, flourish and expand their boundaries. They will thank you dearly for doing so!