Everyone who wants to raise their children to appreciate different cultures, work for peace, and protect the planet probably has very similar reasons for doing so when you get right down to it. And I don't have any illusions that what I'm about to say here is the least bit "new" or "original". It's just my take on it all.
Growing up disabled, I noticed, probably on a subconscious level, that the role models presented to me were mostly male, and mostly white, and almost 100% able bodied. I never thought about how this impacted my view of the world, or of myself. I grew up believing the world was mostly a fair, and good place. But I must have known this wasn't really the truth. I was also rooting for the underdog. My friends were mostly folks who weren't in the "mainstream". I gravitated towards people who had struggled in some way.
When I entered Wheelock College, for the first time I realized how important the "other" people in this world were. I learned about teaching children about people who had different experiences from them growing up. And I learned that life in the the Good Old US of A and its capitalist system is *anything* but fair...as much as most of us want it to be.
And I learned of all that humans do in the name of having what we want regardless of the toll it takes on the Earth. And that if we keep acting in the same old ways, this Earth won't be the same for our descendants. So when I use something over and over again in an almost obsessive way, it is because I feel I'm giving my children a gift. When I limit the number of toys I give them that are made of plastic, I'd like to believe I'm leaving them things in this world
I learned that stairs are a matter of justice. If someone uses a wheelchair and the only way into a place is up stairs, that is an injustice. It isn't just "unfortunate", it is wrong. Poverty isn't just "unfortunate"...it is a social ill we need to work tirelessly to put an end to. Reducing our consumption isn't just a yuppie trend,, it is an obligation I feel towards my children and their grandchildren so that the Earth they live on is as beautiful as the one I enjoy.
When I buy toys and other things for my children that are made by people from other cultures, it isn't just to be "en vogue". It is because I want them to have some idea of the experiences, culture, values and struggles of people in different parts of this world we all share. There is One Great Big God and She loves *every* one of us, and manifests Herself to us through countless faiths.
So these are my "lofty" thoughts of the day. Now Amelie is melting down because she's tired and needs to nurse. Later I'll probably rewrite this...it isn't nearly as eloquent sounding, or focused for that matter ;-), as I'd like.