A Global Mom’s Manifesto

 Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

Hi, again! I’m so happy to be back at All of Us Matter again talking about global families and raising citizens of the world! If you read my last couple of posts then you know I’m passionate about raising global kids because I believe open hearts, eyes, minds, and hands that love, see, respect, and act will make this a better worldly community for everyone.

In this post, I want to shift from talking about raising kids with a global mindset to talking about the moms who are raising those kids. From my experience, this is the most important piece to the puzzle of raising global citizens – seeing yourself as a global mom. 

For some, this might seem like a strange idea – possibly even fraudulent. For example, you might find it a little far-fetched to see yourself as a global mom if you’ve never left the country (except for that one spring break trip). If you’ve birthed little mini versions of yourself and don’t even fully know your own heritage nor have a strong tie to your cultural roots – you may think calling yourself a global mom is even absurd. Don’t despair just yet, though. Identifying as a global mom is more of a mindset than a literal proclamation. In my opinion, if you’re a mom who sees the world as a whole, the people in it as one, and are raising your children with the same ideals, then you’re a global mom. (Bonus points if you love sushi, chicken tikka masala, fattoush, pupusas, or other amazing cultural cuisine!)

I’d love to say being kind and sharing love is enough to make this world a better place and that’s all we need to model for our children, but the reality that presents itself says we have a bit more work to do than that. I’ve asked myself some pretty tough questions to help me get clear with what it means for me to be a global mom. From that, I created this… 

 Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

A Global Mom’s Manifesto:

  • Value and foster diverse communities

  • Seek traditional and untraditional education and sources of information

  • Acknowledge your own biases and prejudices

  • Recognize that you don’t know what it’s like to be from another social group

  • Join forces with globally-minded people in order to continue to grow

  • Respectfully and lawfully question social norms

  • Have a strong voice

  • Trust and act on what you know is right

  • Celebrate diversity and cultural differences

  • Have mutual respect for all, even outside of hierarchical order

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion are more than just buzz words


I don’t know about you, but for me some days are easier than others to pursue my purpose. I’ve had experiences that have made me question it all. You know, those moments when you wonder if one person can actually make a dent of difference. For those days, when the waters are muddy and I can’t see as clearly, it helps to have a list to reference: A manifesto that serves as my marching orders.  The above declaration continues to serve me time and time again. If I’m adhering to intentions and motives that were crafted in a clear and positive state of mind, I can’t go wrong.

 Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

Photo Credit: Emma Burcuse

As a global mom, I recognize that it’s my duty to model being a world citizen to my children, but it extends beyond that, too. It’s my obligation to model these values and beliefs to everyone – all the time.  That by no means says I have all the answers – quite the opposite. What it does mean, however, is that I try to always see the best in myself and the best in you.

What do you think of the idea of being a global mom (or a global dad)? Do you have a written statement that’s important to you? I’d love to continue this conversation! Join me over on at IG: www.instagram.com/xokimberlywyman.


xoKimberly

I sign my name with an X and O, for kindness and love I hope to sow. 

Copy of Add subheading.jpg

Nurturing Global Kids

When I first had the notion to raise my kids as global citizens, it sounded like something to strive for, but to never truly attain. It sounded big and while I love to dream big, I’m not always one who lives big. Sometimes I overwhelm myself with all the possibilities and in turn make things complicated. Does that ever happen to you? I’m personally learning that very few tasks have to be daunting, and nurturing global kiddos is no exception. But that’s not how it started.

ethiopia.jpg

I was single when I started my family. I chose to build my family through international adoption. My son was born in Guatemala and my daughter in Ethiopia. Both adoption processes took me on journeys that opened my eyes to many new experiences. I had the privilege of living in Guatemala for a year as my son’s foster mom during his adoption process. I also traveled to Ethiopia twice for extended stays during my daughter’s process. I learned so many new things and I just knew that I wanted to share all of these experiences with my children. And not just these experiences, but I wanted to expose them to many different cultural opportunities. From the first day of being a mom, I knew that I wanted my children to feel comfortable wherever they were in the world. Enter overwhelm.

How does one teach little people about all of the different cultures in the world? (Spoiler: You don’t.) There is just so much. I needed to reexamine what I wanted to really teach my kids and while learning about different cultures is important and fun, by itself it was missing the mark. As global citizens, I was really hoping they’d learn to embody the characteristics that allowed them to see themselves and others as humans who are worth loving, respecting, and standing alongside. When I defined nurturing global kids like that, the overwhelm began to melt away. 

kimberly-wyman-ethiopia-1.jpg

If I could go back ten years, I’d share this wisdom with my younger self – act as if. When you believe you already are, you more effortlessly make choices that take you there. The truth is, if you want to be a citizen of the world all you have to do is see yourself as one. If you want to raise global kids, then act as if you’re fulfilling that quest with every breath you take. When you act as if, well then, you just already are.

So now that we’re all global citizens, below are a 4 ways you can incorporate the world into your daily activities and conversations with your children.

Passports

If your child could travel anywhere in the world, where would she choose? As you’re having fun daydreaming out loud and making magical plans to befriend elephants, introduce the reality of needing a passport. Passports are fun and kids love collecting stamps, but what does a passport actually mean? This is a great opportunity to ask your child why they think we need passports. Why can’t we just come and go anywhere in the world? What are the benefits of a passport? What are the limitations? There doesn’t have to be any real answers that come from this exercise. It can just be an opportunity to have your child do some critical thinking.

coffee.jpg

Read Labels

When you’re walking through the store, take pause to read labels with your children. A few things to look at might be clothing, furniture, food and beverages.  This can open many conversations. What do certain countries specialize in? What is import and export? How does that help the world work together? If a country doesn’t specialize in a certain item, then why do we import that item? How do lower costs impact workers? What is fair trade? Of course, this can lead to some very serious conversations, which my 11 year old is ready for, or it can be fun and light-hearted for the youngest shoppers. Oh, this can also be done at secondhand shops, too!

Use Life Around You as a Framework for Learning

The world is around us and we have opportunities to look instead of see. Look for similarities and look for differences…in people, dress, cuisine, etc. One example that personally presented itself to my children and me was in Home Depot. There was a lady dressed in a burqa – a full body cloak that covered the woman from head to toe. My daughter with innocence and excitement squealed, “Look, mom!  A ninja!” This was a great teaching moment. I was able to extend the conversation with my children over lunch at a local Middle Eastern restaurant. There truly are opportunities all around us that can open a conversation about the world and global citizenship. 

ethiopia2.jpg

Seek Crafts that Embody Love

Kids and crafts go hand-in-hand. When you’re looking for the next fun project to do with your kids, intentionally seek projects that focus on love. While you’re crafting, have a conversation about all the different ways we can give and receive love. How will that change the world for good? What can kindness teach inconsideration? Like many young children, my kids used to think love was something you said to your family. It wasn’t until many conversations and examples later that they started to learn love is something that you show. And, love can and should be shown to everyone. It’s an action that can bring people together, form friendships, and make people feel like they belong. If you’re looking for a project, check out www.lovenotesandtags.com. It’s something that I put together for kids and adults alike to share love.

One mistake that I used to make when having these conversations, is that I thought it was my responsibility to have all of the answers. But, it’s not. It is perfectly ok to just talk with your children and listen to their thoughts. Kids see us the experts of everything. They’ve come to expect that if they ask a question then we will have the answer. It’s ok to be honest and say something like, “I really don’t know myself. Let’s look into that together. Should we go to the library?” Or something like, “Well, I have my opinion, but I wouldn’t want to ruin the joy of you forming your own opinion.”

While I’m so passionate about nurturing global kids, I’m even more passionate about being a global citizen myself. I like to think of myself as a global mom. And, as a global mom, I’m honored to stand beside you as we raise the next generation of global leaders and world changers! 

xoKimberly

Copy of Add subheading.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL ACTION

By: Gabriela Degen De La Cruz

13116455_10154936412899498_6732612423771194776_o.jpg

The more I read on Social Justice, the more there is to say. After much thought and reflection, I can’t help but think of how social justice movements in western societies have changed throughout time. It is clear that these movements emerge as a form of collective action in response to situations of inequality, oppression and/or unmet social, political, economic or cultural demands. Some of the most world renowned social justice movements are the Women’s Suffrage movements in the late 1800s and early 1900s in England, the nonviolent civil rights movement in the U.S. in the 1950s and early 1960s, and the resistance against the apartheid state in South Africa, also in the 1950s, among other historical social movements around the world.

Even if we scan the news and observe media reports of current and recent social movements like Black Lives Matter, Anti-Islamophobia Movements and its counter movements, #MeToo, or Anti-Human Trafficking, we see individuals coming together and forming a collective action.

The frequently referenced, Cultural Anthropologist David F. Aberle in 1966 described four types of social movements based on who a movement is trying to change and how much change a movement is advocating, Aberle identified four types of social movements: redemptive, reformative, revolutionary and alternative. Depending on how much change the movement advocated for it could either more limited or more radical in this context, and whether the movement is seeking to target a specific individual, or a larger group or an institutional system.

Without wanting to get too technical and turn this into a theoretical debate, it is obvious that different social justice movements take on different forms in different contexts. However, the common denominator in all these movements, helps us understand that social justice is about taking action and making a difference in how we experience life. Whether it’s being part of a big organised group with a global reach, or within your local community context, social justice movements calls for collective action for an intended change. Whether the intended change take shape is a different topic of conversation.

Now, before I passionately continue on writing, the voice of my well versed father chims in. His response, like many other scholars before him, would argue that while some individuals are actively and proactively participating in social justice movements, there are those who could be merely by-standards uninvolved or bothered by a commotion let's say, and/or who choose not to get involved. In fact, their decision to not be informed and/or get involved is contributing to the movement. And they could have valid reasons for choosing not to get involved. So then, maybe the opposite of social justice is not injustice, but ignoring the issue and keeping silent.

With what we have just mentioned, this leaves me thinking even more. If social justice is not just about taking action (or not) then there must be something more. In thought, my mind races through past discussions, lectures and seminars, and for some reason or another, my thoughts revolve around “social responsibility”.

While social responsibility is most commonly used in the context of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the framework could also be used for individuals, although it’s not as widely talked about. It can be argued that as citizens we have an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. But even the slight mention of this thought can raise a flurry of questions and counter arguments that would take us back to a complex political discussion, which I won’t go into anymore.

But if we were to take a step back. If social justice is in the form of treating others with dignity and respect, as discussed in the previous post, then couldn’t that be seen as our collective, ie. social, responsibility?

References:

https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-sociology/chapter/social-movements/

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/movements-social-change-apartheid-civil-rights-suf/

https://www.thoughtco.com/social-movements-history-4109227

http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/10-movements-that-changed-america-movements/11/4/2011/id/37721

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_social_movements

https://www.britannica.com/topic/list-of-social-movements-2073658

Previous Post:

https://www.allofusmatter.org/blog/2018/6/25/social-justice

 

Gabriela_blogbanner.jpg

Why the World Needs You to Raise Global Citizens

 Photo Credit: Mike Scheid

Photo Credit: Mike Scheid

My kids and I recently watched an animated film titled, “The Breadwinner.” It’s about an 11-year-old girl living in Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban. In the story, Parvana, the young girl, is unable to be out of the house – as is any female – unaccompanied by a male. She can’t buy food. She can’t fetch water. She can’t play outside. This is very problematic because her father has been unjustly arrested and it is only her mother, older sister, and infant brother. Determined to provide for the family, Parvana cuts off her hair and poses as a boy. She’s then able to find work, buy food, and have some freedoms as a boy.

After the movie, I was having a conversation with my kids. Asking them questions about what they think happened after the end of the movie, how they would feel living in an environment such as that, etc. My mother-in-law promptly chimed in saying, “That was a long, long time ago.” 

My jaw dropped. 

It wasn’t a long time ago. It’s happening today in varied parts of the world. And not just that scenario, but many social injustices and cruelties exist. There are too many to list and even if I attempted the list, there’s an inability of complete accuracy due to limited resources, censored reporting, and illegal operations. 

While my mother-in-law may be special, I don’t think she’s unique. There are so many people who don’t know what’s going on around the world, either intentionally or unintentionally. From my experience, people like easy and they definitely relish in comfort. Looking beyond into the unfamiliar is scary and really uncomfortable. I’m not judging – I’m human, too, and feel the exact same way. A small difference that helps remove me from that zone and into one of confrontation and disruption is being a self-proclaimed global citizen. 

 Photo Credit: Slava Bowman

Photo Credit: Slava Bowman

With both logic and emotion, I believe identifying as global citizens will flatten geographical borders and unite us as one worldly community – ending social injustices. It starts with us as adults, but the true power is in raising our children with this ideology. But, what does that mean? I’ve asked myself that question and this is what I’ve come up with so far. When I take a close look at the characteristics of a global citizen, the four following attributes stick out the most.

4 Attributes of a Global Citizen

  1. Open HEART: Has the ability to give and receive love
  2. Open EYES: Understands and identifies with the culture of both their birth and resident countries (if different) while having the perspective to see beyond themselves and their situation
  3. Open MIND: Seeks education, cultural exploration, respects and values diversity
  4. Open HANDS: Stands for social justice and is willing to act locally and globally.

This is the reason the world needs you to raise global citizens. To have a clear understanding of what is going on in our shared world (in age appropriate ways). To fight for equality and stand for what we all know is right. To look discomfort in the eye and demand better for humanity as a whole. To challenge the commonplace and disrupt ease as we search for answers beyond what we know. And, finally, to live in the realization that we all have talents and gifts that should be used to better our own personal lives and of those we love, while at the same time bettering the lives of others we don’t personally know.

 Photo Credit: Tina Floersch

Photo Credit: Tina Floersch

How do we raise our children as global citizens? That’s where the fun begins. Because your way of life can and should be fun, and this, my friend, is an awesome way of life. Looking at the four primary attributes above, think of every day moments or experiences that you can incorporate activities and conversations around open hearts, eyes, minds, and hands to love, see, respect, and act.

For example, after the kids and I watched “The Breadwinner,” we had a great conversation about equality and education. We could have discussed many, many aspects from the movie, but I let the kids lead conversation and that’s the direction it went. My daughter saw similarities between the movie and the book, “I Am Malala.” My son immediately recognized the unfairness of how girls are treated and shared his opinions of how he’d respond differently. Having these conversations is such an important foundation of a global citizen.

I’m looking forward to sharing some more of my ideas about how to incorporate activities in your everyday life that nurture global citizens with you soon.

xoKimberly

I sign my name with an X and O, for kindness and love I hope to sow.

Copy of Add subheading.jpg

Social Justice

By: Gabriela Degen De La Cruz

38.jpg
27.jpg

My name is Gabriela Degen De La Cruz. For some I’m a nomade without a place to call home, and to others I’m a wonder-filled wanderlust soul. Although I come from a broken family with separated parents, since the age of 10, I was beyond fortunate to have been privileged enough to attend private International Schools in Cambodia, and boarding school in Thailand.

Having traveled since I was 5 months old, and the first time I traveled unaccompanied was when I was 11, I quickly learned to rely on my own senses to get by. I’ve developed skills to navigate through life, think critically, and act purposefully.

Although I have the capabilities to be a catalyst for change, I don’t always deem myself as best placed to do so. It’s not whether I can or can’t do it, it’s more my own perception in my ability to do well. And if I dig a little deeper, it’s whether I want to risk potentially failing and being wrong. Yes I am human too and not immune to insecurities. But as my father taught me from the young age of 8, you either learn to fail, or fail to learn. Isn’t it interesting how we learn more from our failures than our successes? So here I am, sharing with you the lessons I’ve studied so far - from the lecture halls of my Undergraduate and Master’s studies, seasoned with life’s lessons on a plane from one country to the next.  


49.jpg


SOCIAL JUSTICE
Schools of Thought on Social Justice

Undoubtedly, when you delve deep enough to study what there is to say on “social justice”, there are many perspectives, school of thoughts, and theories you come across. Luckily for us, who don’t have hard copies of encyclopedias or paperback dictionaries, with only a few clicks away we can read a summary and be satisfied that we understand what it’s all about. Until we hear something in the news or start a conversation at a neighbourhood party, should the topic arise. But before we go further let us start with the basics.   

According to the Oxford Dictionary Online, social justice, is “justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society”. This leads us to take a closer look at the familiar term ‘justice’, which has its roots in the Latin word ‘justus’, referring to just behavior or treatment. However, an inquisitive mind like mine does not hesitate to questions “just behavior” or “just treatment”, because if there is one thing that I’ve learned from all the places I’ve been to, is that common sense is not common, and the same can be said about a “just” behavior or treatment. Different cultures understand justice differently, and therefore “just behaviors” are experienced differently by people from different backgrounds, religion, ethnic origin, gender, etc. the list can go on.

Nonetheless, if we continue delving deeper, the term ‘justus’ derives from the term ‘jus’ meaning ‘law’, ‘right’. This is where people and cultures find seemingly different applications of justice depending on their unique contexts. Hence, why we have a legal system that can enforce law and order, which nowadays can chime a strong cord with those who have lost trust in governing institutions to do so (more on this in coming posts). But it is in the legal terminology, that even the moral principles of Human Rights has evolved from. Today our human rights are widely accepted as inalienable fundamental rights to which a every person is inherently entitled to, simply because she or he is a human being. These human rights are enshrined in documents like in the Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that social justice is routinely coupled with ideas of equality -  since every individual has inherit rights merely by being human, and therefore entitled to equal access and equal opportunities. This is the bedrock of egalitarian thought. Egalitarianism, as a political doctrine that essentially advocates for everyone to have the same political, social, economic and civil rights.

From an economic perspective, egalitarianism is seen to be the driving force behind socialism and even communism. It is economic egalitarianism that seeks to remove the social barriers, due to economic inequality by means of redistribution of wealth. An obvious example of this is in social welfare programs, where progressive tax policies take proportionately more money from wealthy individuals to redistribute it to those who lack the same means, in order to raise their standard of living.

Among many criticisms, economic egalitarianism as a doctrine has two main problems. Firstly, the mistaken premise that the rich exploit the poor in order to get wealthy. Over the last 150 years most socialist literature promote this premise. This is most evident in Karl Max’s work when he wrote his “Communist Manifesto” published in 1848. Depending on where you stand on the political spectrum, you could still argue that it’s still the case today, or argue your way around this. Secondly, it has been extensively argued that socialist programs and welfare systems have the tendency to create more problems than they actually solve. For example, welfare programs that use tax revenue to supplement the income of underemployed or unemployed individuals, usually has the effect of creating a dependency relation, where recipients become dependent on the government’s support instead of being incentivised to improve their own situation. It has been observed by historians that in places where socialism or communism has been tried on a national scaled, it failed to remove the class distinctions in society. Instead, the distinction between the nobility - common man has been just replaced with the working - political class man (Kowalczyk, 2016).  

With the above snapshot, this leads me to wonder if different perspectives of ‘social justice’ simply encapsulate a specific time in history. And with time, and as society constantly changes, how we see social justice in practice also changes. Then, maybe we need a perspective that is out of time and place, to really be our standard for what ‘social justice’ should really be about.

83.jpg

A Different Way of Seeing Social Justice

From all the philosophical texts and writings on social justice, I haven’t come across one that is so practical and explicit as the Bible. If you just read that and you had to gasp for air, please know what I’m about to touch on next will not be a sermon on the mount like preaching. Instead, it’s an invitation to consider an alternative perspective of social justice that is out of time and place from the assumption that God is exactly that, out of time and place. If you are quite familiar with the texts in the Bible or growing in your understanding, this will be another opportunity to compare how schools of thoughts on social justice compare to what you may already know.

What, then can we know about social justice from this alternative perspective that is out of time and place? Well, there are quite a number of things one can draw out from texts found in the Bible. One of the key findings, on which most, if not all, topics revolves around, is the source of social justice. However, for the purposes of this post, we’ll stick to discussing how this alternative perspective present social justice.     

Firstly, there is a strong emphasis to show concern and care for the plight of the poor, for those who are afflicted, and in need (Leviticus 25:35; Exodus 22:25; Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 58:6–7; Zechariah 7:9-10; Jeremiah 22:3; Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 31:9; James 2:14–17), or less fortunate (Matthew 25:40). Most of these individuals are often orphans, widows, and what we nowadays call refugees and asylum seekers - individuals who do not have a support system or are able to fend for themselves within the systems of their society. The focus here, is still who society is to treatment those less privileged. Secondly, other accounts (Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:17; 27:19) also alludes to consequences if we treat vulnerable individuals unjustly, which we see nowadays when orphans are abused, widows violated, and refugees denied their right to seek safety.

Another text talks about reaching out to the homeless and loveless (James 1:27). Here too we see a reference of social justice as being a moral obligation to care for those less fortunate. Thus, these example can be said to be out of time as it shows that it’s not constrained to the moment in history in which it was written nor the context. In other words, because it is still applicable today, it’s safe to say that it’s past the “test of time”.

47.jpg

Moreover, this perspective is out of time and place, as its exhortations to care for the poor are more individual than societal. Rather than delegating our responsibilities to our governments and social institutions to ensure social justice is carried out, we as individuals are encouraged to do what we can to help those in need. The notions of social justice we frequently hear of today replaces the individual with the government, who, through taxation and other welfare programmes aims to redistributes society’s wealth. Such policies very rarely foster compassion and encourage generous giving, but tends to harbor resentment in those who see their hard-earned money being given to someone who they could consider as undeserving. Thus, this alternative perspective of social justice, by focusing on our individual responsibility, surpasses the stance and political views of any government or school of thought, at any time in history, and in any particular place.

In conclusion, we’ve seen how social justice is often described as relative to a time and place. In turn, this provides an inconsistent definition, as its standard is constantly changing. A standard that is frequently evolving and flexible in its definition is not a reliable measure at all. Therefore, we looked at an alternative perspective that is out of time and place from a few references in Scripture offering a better definition of justice. This definition goes beyond social infrastructures and policies to how we treat each other on a day to day.   

Resources

Kowalczyk, H. A., (2016) Capitalism, Socialism and Communism. Huffington Post. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/henryk-a-kowalczyk/capitalism-socialism-and-_b_8523486.html