I took my 4 1/2 year old son halfway around the globe so that he could begin to grasp how the world is both impossibly bigger and smaller than we can imagine.
We flew 6000 miles to visit an African country so that he could begin to learn how beautiful diversity and color and differences are when we’re not afraid of them.
We walked into small fishing villages where families live on $2/day and children are held as slaves so that he might begin to understand that our “normal” is not normal and that we should have open hands both to receive and give away what we have been given to steward.
We rode on planes and in cars and on boats and watched kids on bikes and women carrying huge loads of firewood on their heads. We smelled local foods and watched silly goats and were woken by crowing roosters. The red dirt of those long, bumpy roads got in our clothes in the same way that I hope love and care for this continent and these people and all people will seep deeply into his young heart.
Travel changes us because the other becomes the friend. The wall is turned on its side to become a bigger table. We rely on those we used to think we didn’t need. We don’t just hear stories; we create new and better stories together.
These are just a few of the reasons I took my 4 1/2 year old halfway across the globe. And why we did the same when our two older kids were just 5 and 7. Because the world is messy and hard and full of pain. But it’s also really beautiful. And new people and places and perspectives are like a human kaleidoscope of beauty. And if I give nothing else to my children except faith and a curiosity for finding beauty then that will be enough.