“Mama, why don’t we celebrate Christmas at home?”
“Reena does not eat eggs, why should I?”
“I do not like this traditional dress. My friends will laugh at me.”
Heard such statements before from your 4-5 year old? If yes, you are not alone. If no, well, your turn is not far behind.
Your kiddo will now begin to identify similarities and differences among people by way of language, food, customs, religious beliefs, style of dressing, etc. He or she may not understand ethnicity or religion but can sense similar or different patterns of behavior in her immediate circle.
What you need to know
Today’s globalization has turned every city into a melting pot of cultures. Instead of holding on to our roots, we seem to be comfortable aping western culture and trying to find neutral grounds to show off our adaptability. Occasional religious celebrations and inclusion of newer customs completely foreign to us such as Halloween confuse the child.
What one needs to do
We need to stay firm in our cultural beliefs and pass it on to our children. At the same time, it is imperative to stay open to other beliefs and ensure that children celebrate such differences among themselves with mutual inclusion, rather than mere tolerance. Being citizens of India, we must remember and revive our pride for our rich and varied heritage while embracing other international cultures.