Besides all the technical things I’ve learned making One Globe Kids (such as how to try and anticipate what a child will do before they do it and make sure you’re physically in a good location for getting an interesting photo of it in a location you’re visiting for the first time), I’ve learned many more fundamental things about life.
I’d love to hear if any of these resonate with you as well.
- All kids are interesting and do cool stuff. Every time that I’m with a One Globe Kids child and their family, I think, “Whoa… Bas and Wim would love this!” Whether it’s using a real knife to cut down bamboo for a kite and a spitball shooter in rural Indonesia, making “potions” with a goopy combo of spices, glue, and markers in Tel Aviv, or looking for “Dog’s Teeth” (candy-like berries) outside Port-a-Prince, every child does cool, interesting things that I know my kids would love. As a parent, I want my kids to be creative and full of energy to come up with their own “cool stuff.” But equally important, I want them to assume that everyone they meet does cool stuff, too. It will make them curious, open-minded, and friendly. And hopefully, it will teach them to approach everyone as an equal.
- Friendships are everywhere, just waiting to be made. More often than not, I’m sad to leave a country because I wish I could spend more time with the family and the child’s parents. I’ve been especially surprised by the “click” I feel with so many of the mothers. Maybe it’s because people who choose to be in the series are generally world-curious and open, so we have a lot to talk about. Or maybe it’s because you automatically feel friendly with someone that you pass an intense period of time with. (I’m with them when their child wakes and when they go to bed; while they eat; run errands; play; study…it’s an intense period for all of us!) Mostly, though, I think it’s simply because there are potential friends everywhere. It’s our openness for it and logistics that make things difficult. (For kids, it’s even easier: A pile of sand? I’ll watch you roll down it and then do the same! Friendship made!)
- Expect the unexpected. In general, I plan as much as possible before traveling to a new country. I’ve agreed with each family about when I will come, basics of how things will work. I’ve arranged a translator and a place to stay. I know how I’ll get from the airport to where I’m going, what type of money I’ll use to pay, and what visa I need. But it’s impossible to know everything, and it’s almost better like that: It keeps you flexible, which is the best way to work with kids you don’t know, in a country you don’t know, often in a language you don’t speak. If you tell yourself ahead of time, “Something will happen for which I’m not prepared,” you’ve basically prepared yourself!
- Food and drink build bridges. We all know this – just think of all the national and religious holidays and family gatherings that almost ritualistically involve sharing certain foods (Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Thanksgiving, birthdays, 4th of July, New Year’s Eve, etc). Friends “go out for a cup of coffee,” when all they really want is to catch-up and share a good conversation. Eating and drinking together creates a shared trust, which I believe is especially enhanced when one person accepts food or drink offered by the other. When in doubt, eat, drink, and trust that things will work out better now that you have. They almost always do.
- Creating something from scratch always takes longer than you expect but is totally worth it. If 37-year old Anne could go back in time and talk with 34-year old Anne, she would say this: “In three years, you’ll be almost ready to launch One Globe Kids. It sounds like a long time and it is. But that’s OK. You can never foresee all the details to be worked out, all the potential kinks along the way. Always expect that something unexpected will happen more often than it won’t. Roll with it, run with it, and have fun – I promise you’ll be glad you did.”
Stay Globe Smart, Anne Glick