Raising Half & Halfs

I’m over at the Lost in Books site guest posting a few thoughts about raising cross-cultural children in America. There’s an excerpt below. Click this link for the full post and browse Rebecca’s other love, design through the Ruby’s Upcycled Designs site which has a hundred other links to gorgeous treasures made from something old.

“Sri Lankan children are unreservedly indulged from birth to the age of five. Mothers chase after them at lunch, with little balls of rice on spoons or, more usually, in their fingertips, cajoling the beloved to take one more bite of food. Water is warmed for their baths, they are coddled and cuddled and forgiven for all manner of travesties. They throw tantrums which are observed by smiling, sweet-tongue extended family. They are given the best of every luxury that a family is fortunate enough to come by, no matter their social status. At five, though, everything changes. That is when all children go to school; usually to montessori schools. At this point, they are expected to buckle down to the serious business of being not babies but children. Almost overnight, children realize – and appear to do so without too much trauma – that the honeymoon is over. They turn away from parents toward their peers, united by their common predicament. Parents, in turn, bond with those to whom their children are entrusted: teachers.

Sri Lankan children move, therefore, between what are considered two sets of parents, the ones who gave them life and those who teach them how to live. The first songs that children are taught in Sri Lanka are those that describe the respect due to both parents and teachers. And, in true Sri Lankan style, the lyrics are gut-wrenching! It is relatively easy for children to undergo this transformation because there is a universally accepted set of cultural beliefs to buttress the frame within which it takes place: respect for their elders no matter where they are found, the value of education, the importance of religious and cultural observances (Sri Lanka celebrates all four major religions of the world), the worth of hospitality toward guests and loyalty to ones friends.”


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