Why teaching your kids two cultures isn't enough

I made a great investment decision when the winter began--I signed our family up as members of the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Which means Juliana and Diego can spend up to four hours without saying “I am bored Mom” or starting going crazy and asking for ridiculous snacks.

The museum has many different activities to keep the kids entertained when the weather outside is not cooperating, and this year they’re presenting a series of events celebrating cultures from around the world.

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Since we lead a bicultural life, I’m always trying to get my kids in touch with the many different cultures that collide in the city they live in. This weekend we celebrated the Lunar New Year and learned a little about the arts and culture of New York’s Chinese community.

The festival was awesome, my kids had a blast making dragon masks, looking up their birth year in the Chinese calendar, and watching the Chinese Theater perform a shadow puppet show.

It never ceases to amaze me how different the cultures around the globe are and how little we actually know about them.

When I came to the US I hated the broad generalizations about us Hispanics – Americans seemed to see no difference between Guatemalans, Costa Ricans and Mexicans. I believe that often these blanket observations of cultural differences are based on people’s own inability to connect with different cultures. We all know that stereotyping can have intense negative effects, as can generalizing about an entire continent of people.

I always tell my daughter Juliana not to be afraid to ask questions to her Chinese or Russian friends from school, as most people respond very positively to inquiries about their culture.

I know I do, because in the end, all these differences between cultures can add a lot of richness to our life.