My daughter recently has been enamored with Bollywood movies. Everyday after school, she insists on watching the colorful singing and dancing that fill these movies. She watches the movies with such concentration as if she understands Hindi. This got me thinking, that maybe I should expose my kids more to their cultural backgrounds. My kids are half Korean and half East-Indian. I am able to speak, read and write Korean - probably at the level of an elementary school student, but culturally, I'm embarrassed to say, eating Korean food is about as far as we go. There is even less exposure on the Indian side. I've always meant to speak Korean to my kids, but I was shocked at how unnatural this felt. Now when I actually do speak it to my daughter, she'll respond with "mommy, what are you saying?".
In an effort to change this, I have been researching different ways in which to introduce different cultural aspects into our home. At first, I did an exhaustive search in the area for Korean schools for children. However, I was shocked to find that there are none - except for maybe ones that are part of the local Korean churches. I found Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and French, but no schools teaching Korean. So of course now it is fully on me to teach my kids.
It's amazing what you can find on the internet that just makes our lives so much easier. So what's the plan? Here are some ways I'm planning on making my kids (and myself) more aware of their cultural backgrounds and to not take it for granted:
- Although I try to limit the amount of TV that my kids watch, I think there is some value to watching Korean and Indian videos - both on TV and on the internet (YouTube). The public libraries are great resources for finding videos, plus it's free!
- I've ordered a few books and song CD's to start exposing the kids to the spoken language. What better way to do it than with songs!
- While cooking together - I'll try to explain the different types of spices that I'm using to introduce the different types of food.
- Joining and becoming a member of different groups on the internet and in the local area. For example, I found a great blog - www.littleseouls.blogspot.com which is a blog written by 2 Korean-American moms that share information on Korean culture and is also a little boutique.
Well - this is a start. I will keep you posted on how it goes...