Two weeks back, I wrote an article about the importance of multi-cultural learning. In this post, I discussed, why, at home and at schools, we parents and educators must create an environment for our children to learn about the culture of their friends and class mates who come from diverse backgrounds. From festivals to cuisine, from traditions to dance and music and from stories to art and craft, the children can interact and connect over a gamut of topics so as to learn and appreciate what other cultures have to offer.
The Book – God's Dream
The discussion about mult–cultural learning extended from this blog to an education forum, where one of the participants named Padma recommnded a book called – God's Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
This book shares a powerful message of universal love, hope, peace and sharing – but in a gentle, non-preachy way that a child can relate with. It talks about faith in a way that even a 4-year old can understand.
There aren't many books for this age group that touch upon the subject of faith and diversity in such an uncomplicated and effortless manner.
Pari has loved this book from the very first reading that we did together at bed time.
I read it to her with a lump in my throat. She's asked me to read to her often and has read it herself too – more than once.
The illustrations are mesmerizing. The water colour art of children in different skin colours, dresses etc mingling with each other with ease – portray innocence and joy and reflect the book's message that love transcends boundaries, colour, race and faith.
The two questions upon which this book is based…
…instantly sparked Pari's attention and piqued her curiosity.
The first question that the author asks is – "Dear child of God, what do you dream of in your lovliest of dreams?"
The question is followed by thoughtful cues. Does the child dream of being able to do what his/her heart desires?
Or, does he dream of being treated – like a full person (with respect and dignity)?
Understandably, this question initiated animated answers from Pari about her own dreams.
The other question, "What does God dream of?", sent her into a thinking mode…
There is a page about how we may talk to God in different ways but in essence we are all reaching out to the same God. The message tugs at your heart.
The water colour illustrations showing a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu and a Buddhist child praying will leave a lasting impression on your mind.
In my view, this book will be a life-long gift to every child – no matter what the age, community, culture or faith.
These are the kind of life lessons our children must partake of.