Sometimes being a bi-cultural family is, oh, I don’t know, what’s the word?
Take last year when we went to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
The program? The March of Superman, the music from the Harry Potter movies, the 1812 Overture, cannon fire and a fireworks finale.
Our super hero-crazed, explosive-obsessed kids were in heaven.
And so were we, kicking back on a blanket with our Turkish meze spread before us.
And then the questions started.
- Did the conductor really write the music for Star Wars?Is James Taylor famous? Who is Yo-Yo Mama and why is he playing that big brown instrument? What happened in 1812? Why were they fighting?
Usually it’s me who fields my kids’ questions. I mean, I’ve got the home team advantage and I’m okay with that.
Because, even with all he’s absorbed in the 12 years since he came to the U.S., there’s still a lot about the cultural legacy of the United States that my husband doesn’t know.
And I know it’d be the same for me if we were living in Turkey.
Answers! We got Answers!
Of course, the great thing about kids is that they’re always learning. So the opportunities to talk and learn are endless.
A visit to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, will turn into a mini-lesson on the life and times of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Or we’ll be on the way to school and somehow end up talking about the exploits of astronaut Sally Ride.
Or one of my “eat your veggies” rants will segue into a chat about the legacy of Cesar Chavez.
Whatever the question, I can usually finesse an answer until I get to the nearest computer terminal or library for more information.
But once the questions have ebbed, I always feel a bit uneasy and I wonder:
- How much “Americana” do our kids need to know?
How and what can I teach them about other cultures in the U.S. that are not in the mainstream?
What are my kids missing by not being immersed in Turkish culture?
And what does it really mean to be culturally-literate in today’s world?
What do you think? I’d love to know!
Go back to Culture 101 series.