As a parent, you may have become so preoccupied with day to day family life that the importance of exposing your children to history and culture and nature may have escaped you. Yet, when your children are little, the world is still big, fresh, and new for them. These can be the most crucial years of their lives to teach them about the wonders of lifelong learning.
Here’s a historic analogy to make this clear:
When Mozart was little, his family toured most of Europe. As a child prodigy, he played music in royal courts. The six-year old Mozart even bounced on the lap of the delighted Louis XV at the court of Versailles. His musical vocabulary expanded quickly on these grand tours because he met the leading composers of his day. However, by age 17, when he got a stable job as a court musician in Salzburg, he was forced to only play acceptable conventional music. He was miserable because he knew music could be much vibrant than using a boring, formulaic approach. In 1781, on a visit to Vienna, he refused to leave and was dismissed from his position. It was then during his years in Vienna that he composed his most famous symphonies and concertos and operas.
This story contains the germ of an important life lesson: if Mozart had not been exposed to the wide world of music when he was little, he would never have merely been a childhood curiosity who became a competent court musician and would never have expressed his true musical genius.
Planting the Seeds of Wonder
Similarly, unless you expose your children to a wider world when they are young, they will quickly lose their sense of wonder as they grow up in a conventional world. You must plant the seeds of curiosity early in life to expand their natural state of wonder.
By taking your family or road trips and going on holidays to different parts of the country or world, you teach your children to become curious. It’s a wonderful way to educate them and plant the seeds of intellectual curiosity and open-minded thinking.
While international travel may not be within your family’s budget, you can still expose your children to different cultures within your own country itself.
Beyond the Suburbs
The United States and Canada have breathtakingly beautiful places that would thrill your children so if you’ve been thinking for an excuse to visit we’ve come up some reasons why you should definitely go!
Here are 7 wonders of the world you can visit in North America:
· The Grand Canyon is the biggest canyon in the world.
· Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, offers unique geographical features like the largest volcano in North America, as well as eco-diversity and amazing wildlife.
· Niagara Falls is actually 3 falls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. Together, they make up the largest waterfall on this continent.
· Yosemite National Park has the tallest North American waterfall; El Capitan, the biggest granite monolith; and Half Dome, the most distinctive monolith.
· The Bay of Fundy located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada is famous for the biggest tidal changes in a single day, and these occur twice each day.
· Mount McKinley in Denali National Park has a steeper vertical rise than Mount Everest and is North America’s tallest mountain.
· The Redwoods, located between Redwood National Park and Sequoia National Park, have the tallest and widest trees in the world. “General Sherman,” for instance, is a massive 52,500 cubic foot tree.
· The Everglades in the Everglades National Park has the world’s slowest moving river.
Bringing History to Life
Besides geographical wonders, there are historical places in North America that will delight your children. If you check out the resources at http://chickasawcountry.com you will instantly recognise an opportunity to visit a place where your children can capture a vivid sense of history. While it is fine to read about historical people, tribes, and events, it is quite another to visit their homes and participate in their cultural traditions. Historical venues can make history books come alive for your children.
Science and Mathematics
On your travels with your kids, you have many opportunities to teach them about the marvels of science, ranging from the wonders of automobiles and aviation to the weather patterns responsible for different cloud formations. You also have the opportunity to excite them about the wonders of mathematics as you talk about distances, times, sizes, and other quantitative things. Additionally, nature trips through fields, forests, and beaches offer incredible opportunities to bring scientific ideas to life.
Reintroducing the Grand Tour?
The idea of a Grand Tour flourished from the 1660s to the 1840s as an educational rite of passage. Initially, it was started by the British nobility, and then it became popular in Continental Europe. However, by the middle of the 18th century North and South American landed gentry participated in it. After real and steamship travel became affordable, the idea of the grand tour was made accessible to middle class families as well. Today, it’s time we revived this tradition, because there is a huge difference between reading books, and actually visiting places of sociological, geographical, historical, or scientific importance. As a parent, you can make your child into a lifelong learner by making knowledge come alive through vivid experiences.