The New Year automatically lends itself to trying new things. For some, it is the practice of eliminating elements that may improve their health, like trying a cleanse. For others, it is adding in practices that could help them decrease their stress levels, like joining a yoga studio. Whether we are aiming for Dry January or joining a Meetup Group, the practice of the New Year and its many resolutions is about being open-minded to things that could improve your life. This also implies being open minded towards those who are presenting us with their lofty goals for 2020.
Here at ISDenver, we are using this month to open our minds to new ideas and new people. This may be as obvious as introducing yourself to someone who appears to be completely different than you in appearance, or more subjective, like figuring out how to have a meaningful argument with someone expressing the completely opposite point of view. Either way, we are asking our learners to try and be open.
In order to even begin the process of opening one’s mind to change, we first have to acknowledge that it is okay to have some bias, it is okay to be apprehensive, and it is okay to not understand why you think the way you do. Our school is fortunate in many ways, for our learners have been introduced to different cultures, languages, and ethnicities from a young age. They have traveled the state, country, and some have traveled the world at this point, learning about things that are different than what they see at home everyday.
As we pride ourselves on being an inclusive and open-minded school, there is always room to grow, and that is what we are teaching your children this month. So, I leave you with ideas to explore as a family during this month and throughout the year. This topic is one for conversation, experiences, and healthy debates, which are all things every family can do together to learn how to be an open minded person.
For Younger Learners:
- Your children relate so easily to characters in books and movies. Pick a story that may be out of your child’s realm of expertise. Elmer books by David McKee, A Day in The Life of Marlon Bundo, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, Red, A Crayon’s Story or My Dad Does Yoga for our youngest children. For older primary students, chapter books like Wonder, My Weirder School series, or the Sophie Washington series. Movies like The Descendents can also spark discussion on whether evil creates evil or giving people second chances.
- Set family goals. Include places to visit, new activities to try, bucket list items, or family traditions to incorporate. Make sure to post this in a visible place and revisit often during family dinners.
- Try a restaurant with unique food. Maybe it is an Ethiopian restaurant where they can eat with their hands, maybe you go for ice cream and try the craziest flavor listed. Food is a great way to bond over new experiences.
For Older Learners:
- Create family book club reading a book out of your comfort zone: Game Changer, Focused, The Way I Used To Be, Will Grayson Will Grayson, or The Hate You Give.
- Hold a mock debate. It is a great lesson for older learners to be able to argue their point of view and respectfully disagree with another. Role play with them debating as the adult and you as the child. This also helps them disassociate the argument from the person.
- Family goals can still be relevant at this age. Let your child have a bigger say in where the family trip is, set activity goals, or learning to cook new recipes. Again, the more times you revisit these goals the more likely you are to accomplish them.