We live in the world more open, diverse and digital than ever.
We (me, my husband and my son) create multicultural, multiracial, multireligious and multilingual family- uff, lots of multi 😛 Although we got married because we were/are deeply in love, we made that decision being very much aware of all (maybe not all, but vast majority) possible consequences. We discussed everything from where we will live to what we will do if one of our parents dies and how we will take care of the other one. We talked through some child issues, however, it wasn’t much into detail (well, I didn’t have a clue about children that time). I just knew I met somebody who shares the same values and the same overall view on life. Whenever child comes in the future, we will want to raise him as confident biracial, trilingual person proud of his multicultural heritage.
As every mother, I worry about my child. I worry about him getting ill, hitting his head on the playground, choking, not eating enough, not wearing hat and scarf when it’s cold outside and so on and on… However, these aren’t my biggest worries. I’m much more concerned about him being bullied by others/in the school, feeling marginalised, feeling lost as not being able to identify with one ethnicity, wondering why he doesn’t fit to any ‘typical questionnaire group’, being upset/angry/depressed when someone says a negative comment towards him. I know we (me and my husband) have to do everything to make him strong, confident young man who can face anyone and any difficult situation. We have to help him develop a strong sense of his own identity and teach him to be proud of his diverse background. We can never let him feel like outsider or less than others, but different- yes! Different is cool 🙂 We will never let others say any negative things about his ethnicity. We will always speak up and teach him how to response holding his head up. By educating him in the right way and helping him understand/appreciate his unique status, we will boost his self-esteem.
“The most powerful moral influence is example”–
Please remember, the example always starts at home. We- parents- set the example for our kids- how we live, how we talk to each other, how we treat/respect each other and others in the society. We are their moral guides. If we don’t give them the right example, we can only blame overselves, not them. If a woman is not treated like an equal partner by her husband (or even worse- mistreated), their children will grow up believing that’s the way it should be. They will continue following their parents’ footsteps unless the society opens their eyes and changes the way they think. If we demonstrate we don’t like particular religion or race, so we are racists or choosists (choosist- a person who is a hidden racist in fact, e.g. one likes white and brown people, but not black; I’m very sorry for such a simple languistic example, I don’t mean to offend anyone, just want to show the plain thinking of certain choosists), we can expect our children will be the same. That’s why it is so important to teach our children the world is diverse. There are different religions, cultures, races, sexes, ethnic groups etc. Everyone has a right to have own opinions and views, but one should respect other people’s beliefs, values, customs and personal identity.
We want our son to know, understand and appreciate the world diversity and embrace the diffrences, like we do 🙂 We want him to interact and play with children from all races and religions, not only with Polish, Indian, British, Christians and Sikhs. We want to show him the world- travel to different countries/continents, meet people of all colours, visit temples/gurudwaras/churches/mosques/synagogues etc., do charity work together with those less privileged. We want him to know money doesn’t value a person. We will try to teach him not every child is as lucky as him- to be healthy and have both loving parents and all grandparents, house, safe country to live in, any food he wants, plenty of toys and just a happy childhood.
My husband is an amazing man with big heart. It was his idea to collect money and donate to charity instead of getting gifts on Fabian’s first birthday. I have to be honest- at first, I was against it. I thought we can collect money on 2nd or 3dr birhtday, but not on the 1st. The first birthday is the most important/memorable and some gifts are remembered throughout whole life. However, he didn’t have to persuade me much. I agreed quickly. Now, I feel like it was the best idea ever and the best gift Fabi could ever get. He has so many toys those new ones wouldn’t make much difference. Instead, we collected good amount of money on behalf of Fabi and donated to nearby hospice for children. I’m sure Fabi will get lots of blessings and good wishes. They are more powerful than any material things. As I said, I have very generous husband who supports many charities and organisations. He taught me to give/share and don’t expect anything in return. He says God will give us what we deserve. To be honest, he is right! God has given us a fabulous life so far.
Our fabulous fusions work pretty well 🙂 We respect each other’s traditions and beliefs. We embrace our differences and blend our cultures. We try to balance it out and treat all parts equally. We want our son to be proud of his Polish and Indian heritage although we are aware he is and will be even more British day by day. We go together to Church and Gurudwara. We attend various religious festivals and events. We celebrate Easter, Diwali, Christmas, Holi, etc. We read books in English, Polish and Hindi. We watch cartoons and movies mostly in English, but sometimes we show him particular shows in our own languages. We have started exposing him to 3 languages since birth. I speak to him only in Polish, my husband only in Hindi and we both speak in English to each other. Moreover, English is everywhere around, including his nursery. He is now 2.5 years old and is able to speak in 3 languages. He differentiates them perfectly. He knows he can speak only Polish with me and my parents (sometimes a bit of English too), only Hindi with daddy and his parents (and a bit of English too). I taught him to count till 10 in English and Polish but alphabet only in English (just to make his life a little easier). He can spell now every word written in capital letters. I am extremely proud mum! 🙂 🙂 🙂 One of the main reasons, why we want him to speak our mother tongues, is communication with grandparents. We want Fabi to be able to talk to them, call them whenever he wants, spend holidays just with them. In order to do it and feel comfortable with them, he needs to communicate with grandparents in their native languages. So far, it’s all going well. Let’s hope it’s gonna get better and better.
Although I talk to my son in Polish and introduce mostly Polish culture, I actively encourage him to talk in Hindi with daddy or in English with some other friends. I prepare for him Polish, Indian and British food. By the way, Fabian is chapati lover 🙂 I play for him Indian baby songs and Bollywood hits. I have learned by heart 20 or more English nursery rhymes and now I’m teaching him. His favourite song is Twinkle Twinkle Litter Star 🙂 I try my best to balance all cultures around him.
Poland and India may seem to be thousands miles apart, but mentality of people is quite similar. Me and my husband give great importance to family as a unit. There is nothing more important than our family. As a family, we mean our parents and sisters (with their families) as well. Whatever we plan in life, we always take into account our parents. We plan to change the house in few years to be able to give our parents more private space, whenever they come and stay with us. We try to fly to them as often as possible or they come and visit us regularly. They all love Fabi to bits. We try to create ooportunities for them to spend as much time with Fabi as possible. Grandparents won’t live forever. We have to cherish every moment we have together.
Mixed heritage should be always considered as advantage, never disadvantage. Mixed heritage people are culturally richer, open-minded, have broader horizons, usually speak more languages and generally tend to acknowledge and respect other religions/cultures/races. Those children are little global citizen who feel they belong to many countries or even continents. Raising multicultural child isn’t easy. Well, raising any child isn’t easy. But it’s all worth it, isn’t it?