My wife and I had a wonderful and inspiring dinner conversation the other night with our two teenage kids. Their middle school was celebrating their annual “Around The World” cultural day at school where the kids are encouraged to come to school dressed in something that celebrates their culture. It is a cool concept and one that is obviously intended to promote acceptance and understanding between cultures. And mind you, their school has over 100 cultures and many languages spoken by the families of the kids, so it is very interesting day.
My daughter loves to dress up for the event and one of the things she finds so fun about it and the fact that she is two cultures, or several actually, is that she doesn’t have to be one thing each year. She can pick and be different each time. Last year she went representing the Mexican and Mexican-American culture of her mother. This year she was excited to represent her African-American side.
But over dinner the other night I decided to put her and her brother on the spot by asking them to name what they were proud of about about both of their main two cultures. They both had no problems coming up with answers and indeed could not limit it to just one thing per culture. It was great to see that they were both strong in their sense of pride and that they felt equally proud to be both of their ethnicities.
So I decided to take it one step further and ask were they happy to be Mixed or bi-cultural and if so what about being Mixed did they like.
Again, no hesitation, almost in unison, they both said they really liked being more than one thing. Their reasons largely were that it gave depth and richness to who they were and it gave them two distinct cultures to celebrate, get to know, and enjoy. To them, being one thing seemed rather boring.
It was so good to see that our kids were quite happy being who they were. I wish the people out there who prefer to think that Mixed kids are confused or have no place since they are “caught” between worlds, could talk to these two. If they did they would see that rather than being a negative, being Mixed can be very liberating when a child can take that cultural openness and use it to see that contrary to being limited, being Mixed opens them to far more than they might otherwise get to see or experience if they were not.
Those are some sharp kids we have there if I do say so myself.