My 5-year-old son, Caden, is out on the lagoon in the back yard of our house in Mexico. A local is teaching him how to catch fish using an old water bottle, some fishing line and a hook.
We live a short kayak ride from a five mile stretch of beach about 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Friends and family ask WHY I want to live south of the border. I could say to escape the news and the depression over economic downturns. I could mention the low cost of living and high level of services I enjoy in Mexico. I could definitely talk about the weather, the surprising animal and plant life, snorkeling and SCUBA diving, adventuring into underground sink-holes called cenotes (seh-NO-tays), etc.
But the main reason I am here and make it a point to travel with my children is that I want them to think flexibly.
Travel Expands Kids’ Minds
What does that mean? I learned the term at the Intercultural Communications Institute while doing an activity involving an envelope filled with small assorted items --a dog bone, a nail, a penny, a paperclip.
The instructor asked us to look for commonalities and sort the objects into groups (such as the bone and coin which are both brown). It taught us that each object has many characteristics. A penny has words and numbers on it, it is round with flat sides, it is made of metal, etc. A penny is not black and white and neither is any person, place or scenario.
I have a company called Same Day Different Choices. Through children’s books and musical performances I present a number of events. How the main characters respond to the different events takes them toward a negative or positive outcome. The books actually start IN THE MIDDLE and move to the right or the left. They teach children to think positively and make great choices.
Imagine how instilling this kind of thinking in children can add so much happiness to their lives. They get to focus on WHICH behaviors and thoughts will bring them joy, love, health and abundance. No longer will their egos defend faulty positions. They will simply be able to say, “I could have made a different choice.”
Children Who Travel
This type of thinking comes naturally to well-traveled children. They see that flavors and clothing and creatures and gadgets and products are different in different places. Have you ever seen the “toilets of the world” poster? There are some 30 different styles of commodes- all with different flushing mechanisms that all work!
Understanding THAT is flexible thinking. There is more than one way to accomplish a task or look at an event.
Kendra Delano has taught children to think flexibly and positively, overcome adversity and make great choices throughout her 17 year career as an international educator. She has lived in the US, Singapore, the Canary Islands, Spain, Canada and Mexico. Her first book, Showtime, has been referred to a Celestine Prophecy for children. It is available on-line at www.SameDayDifferentChoices.com.