Parenting is a two-way street: Kids help expand our horizons, too

Let’s play a little game. Can you guess the type of the “pages” I follow on Facebook?

I’ll give you a few seconds to jot a couple of them down.

Did you guess travel? Or, multicultural resources? What about parenting? Maybe fashion? Or, even about my hometown of Chicago?

If you did, you’re absolutely, 100 percent right.

I love to travel both here in Chicago and abroad. I enjoy learning about new multicultural resources to share with my sons. I like to know about the latest parenting news and commentary. And, yes, I admit to staying on top of the latest fashion trends.

But, did you write down Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)? No?

Okay, what about author Rick Riordan? No?

Okay, did you consider Manchester United? No?

Well, to be honest, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you didn't.

This travel-loving, multicultural resource-reading, fashion-shopping mom is in to other things, too. And, I completely blame it on my two sons.

Yes. If you told me 10 years ago that I’d happily jot down a Fermilab Family Open House on my calendar, I’d think you were crazy. But, being a parent totally changes things, right?

Since having children, I can now name most of the Sesame Street characters (even the "human" ones). I know more about the Hubble Space Telescope than I ever thought possible. A few years ago, my wallet was stuffed full of membership cards to the Adler Planetarium, Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. I can easily name the stars of Manchester United. I’ve read all seven Harry Potter books and seen all eight movies. And, I still try to work on my French accent (even though there's no way I can compete with my sons!).

The list goes on – like it’s done since my older son was born more than nine years ago.

As the toys pile up in my sons’ room and their bookshelves threaten to topple over from the weight of all of the books on the shelves, my knowledge and understanding of the world has grown by leaps and bounds.

Yes, I am happy to say that parents can learn from our children just as much as they can learn from us.

As a parent, there is no greater joy that experiencing the world through our children’s eyes - and then fueling the flame of growth, understanding, learning and appreciation within them.

Some of my happiest moments have been accompanying my sons to Chicago’s many amazing cultural institutions to feed their passion for a particular subject. And, each time, I couldn't believe I was walking through an amazing exhibit on mummies at the Field Museum, looking for amazing works of art to sketch at the Art Institute of Chicago, learning about Greek "monsters" at the National Hellenic Museum, or watching an Indian dance troupe perform in Sita Ram at the Harris Theater – all thanks to my sons.

In all honesty, I don’t think I would have done even a third of those things if it wasn’t for them.

Yes, while I’ve been so focused on helping show them the world, they’ve been busy working to expand mine.

I’m so proud that my sons can speak French. I love that my younger son wants to travel to Germany or Paris for his seventh birthday. I enjoy that my sons like to eat a variety of global cuisines. I get a kick out of any time my sons want to write with me, or my older son says he’s going to start “Raising World Citizens… for Kids.”

It’s all so fantastic.

But, I love that they’ve taken me on a wild, educational and utterly awesome ride, too.

Whether it’s thanks to clicking on Facebook pages, taking trips to museums, watching TV shows together, going to cultural performances, watching soccer matches, or sharing tales of our favorite books, we’re making each other better, smarter, more worldly people each and every day.

I can easily say that, today, I’m a better person and a more astute and active world citizen. And, it’s all thanks to my sons.

Do your children help expand your horizons, too? If yes, how so? What new things or subjects have you been exposed to as a parent thanks to your children? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

Kids help expand our horizons

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Tags: Parenting

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