One of the Best Ways to Teach Kids Tolerance is to Live It

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Isabela, Sebastian and I arrived in Quito a couple of days ago. Oh, how I love looking at the majestic mountains surrounding the city and the feeling of thin air again. I ask the kids which mountain name they remember from last year.  I love having the kids see their relatives and friends of all ages coming over or going to their houses to visit.

 

Yesterday, we went to visit a house in the countryside up in the mountain of Pasochoa of an old friend of mine. After driving through the highway, we took a stone road for half an hour up the mountains to his house.  We drove through little towns and and bumped into a couple of kids dressed up as local cowboys on horseback going to some local festivities.

 

 

Once I arrived to my friend´s house, I was amazed by the breathtaking view of the mountains and I was delighted to see my friend´s 12-year-old son preparing the barbeque for us.

 

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My friend´s 16-year-old daughter later offered us coffee after lunch. She then sat with us to share a couple stories and tell us what she was going to do for the summer.

 

In Ecuador, I think because families live in the same cities as their relatives and because of the mentality, kids are brought up interacting with people of all ages. They are used to being active participants in everyone´s conversations and activities. Everyone sits at the adult´s table. Old grandpa—grumpy and a bit off and always requesting people to bring stuff to him— grandma, cousins, nieces or whoever happens to show up has a meal together.

 

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I think that one of the best ways to teach kids tolerance is actually living it.

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Born to a large family in Quito, Ecuador, Carmen Cordovez went to bilingual Spanish/English school from kindergarten through high school. Her childhood was happily spent going to the beach and riding horses during the summer. She studied and worked in advertising in Ecuador, before moving to Brazil to study computer science. She then moved to San Francisco and worked as a database administrator for Oracle, followed by a start-up. She has always loved traveling, and before having kids, traveled as much as she could to places like India, Burma, Turkey and more. Since having her two American-Ecuadorian kids, she spends her time raising her children, creating art, traveling and doing occasional consulting projects. Her children are currently fourth and first graders in a Mandarin immersion school and are able to communicate in Mandarin. They are also fluent in Spanish and English. She happily spends her summers on a yearly pilgrimage to Ecuador (or other Spanish speaking countries) to visit family for her children’s bicultural/bilingual experience. Carmen blogs at playinghopscotch.com about her experiences traveling.

1 COMMENT

  1. I love Ecuador!!! I spent 6 months in Quito in college, and have been dreaming of going back with my children. Beautiful country, beautiful people- thanks for the post!

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