Culture was imprinted upon me from a young age. Not only was I the product of a culturally mixed marriage, I also spent some of my earliest childhood years living overseas in a country that was culturally diverse, eating different foods, seeing people of different backgrounds, hearing different languages.
When I returned to Australia, I was made aware of my “difference” by less understanding children. But I also remember being embraced by friendlier children despite my difference. Kids just want to be accepted for who they are. For that matter, so do adults.
A week or two back something jogged my memory about a show that left a deep mark on me as a child. It was called “Big Blue Marble”. The two theme songs and opening credits were etched onto my mind then and I still recall them now.
This multi-award winning show ran for 9 years of my childhood into my teens and was possibly the first show explaining and showcasing multiculturalism to children. As I’ve written in an earlier post, talking about difference and diversity, is just as important, if not more so, that being randomly exposed to it and hoping it will sink in. For those of you too young to remember it, or for those who never watched it:
“Big Blue Marble was a half-hour children’s television series that ran from 1974 to 1983 in syndication. Distinctive content included stories about children around the world and a pen-pal club that encouraged intercultural communication. The name of the show referred to the appearance of Earth as a giant marble, popularized by a famous photograph of the same name taken in December 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17.”
Through the show, I remember learning about different countries, cultures, foods, clothes, ways of living, language and the value of cross-cultural friendships through their pen pal club. I even signed up for a pen pal myself but lost touch a long time ago.
No other show I know of came and comes close. Sesame Street and even Yo Gabba Gabba might touch on themes of kindness, acceptance and understanding, but kids don’t live amongst monsters, friendly though they may be, and I think it really helps to contextualise diversity in real life settings, in addition to teaching underlying values.
I’m a strong believer in the adage, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I want to teach my children to be accepting and embracing of others no matter their background and to start these lessons now, even though they are only 1 and 3. However, child appropriate resources are hard to come by, though I’ve sourced a few.
If only a show like the “Big Blue Marble” existed today!
Anyone else remember “Big Blue Marble”? Does a similar show exist for the tween/teen age group and I just don’t know about it? Anyone else suggest good cultural diversity resources?
Linking with With Some Grace for FlogYoBlogFriday (FYBF).