Parents, do you wish you could teach your tot some of your childhood plays and songs? Or better yet, do you wish you could share your childhood experiences with your tot? You are not alone, and although I am not a parent yet; I confess my niece and nephew often ask some of the most interesting questions about my childhood—perhaps their curiosity stems from the knowledge that I grew up thousands and thousands miles away, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I find it hard to explain because some things are better experienced than explained.
This brings me to my next confession of why I choose to write this blog. You see, I came across the embedded, and I could not help but reminisce of the wonderful times I had at my grandma’s in Kenya. The truth is that back then, I didn’t have toys or barbie dolls to play with or a babysitter to watch me; so, my friends, cousins and I just did what kids do best—play, and play we did. Due to lack of toys, we improvised and used hands to tap the ground and pebbles to invent game that forged collaboration, etc. This duo, mother and daughter, captured my imaginations in that I found myself lost in awe …what a partnership, how lovely, how authentic, and of course, how fun it must be for the two to embrace their roots and yet have fun together!
You may have heard of the saying that, “two are better than one…” I truly believe in the power of two, but the thought of this mom and her tot enjoying their culture in such a fun way is more than heaven to me! Heaven because it must be fulfilling to the parent, chiefly because it allows the parent to expose the child to a new culture, a treasure like moment that a child carries on into her future. I should point out that this exposure compels the child to appreciate and relate better with others of a different culture. For me, I know for a fact that growing up in an environment where my neighbors were from a different tribe and cultures helped me be more open to others in the Bay Area and the world at large.
As I mentioned earlier, I am yet to be a mother, nevertheless; am very excited to join all you parents that love to engage with your tots in the very act of play. For those of you that have not been to parent and child African music and dance class, I encourage you to check it out... you will not regret it! I applaud this organization and am proud to bond in their commitment to involve you and your child in learning through play—the spirit of Cheza Nami meaning ‘play with me.’
Authored by Carolyne Njogu
Lead Strategy Consultant, U&I Synergy Consulting Group