"You've Got To Be Taught…"

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld shares more of her wisdom about raising happy, healthy, creative children:

The 57th annual Columbus International Festival was held in November at Vets Memorial. In these 57 years of the Festival, so many changes! The number of world cultures represented by Columbus communities in 2012 has multiplied many, many times!

Vets Memorial was festive with colorful booths from every continent. Clothes, crafts, art objects, delicious foods, continuous performances of music and dance enlivened the event. As always, I keep my eyes on the children. For the first time in years, many young children performed in native costumes, singing and dancing their traditional treasures. They brought down the house! Non-performing children wore fabulous costumes, too, from their families' cultures - cameras snapped, delighted festival goers gushed. Children were fascinated by children!

Through all the multi-sensory offerings of the packed two days, one song kept humming itself in my mind and heart. It was from the musical "South Pacific": "You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are 6 or 7 or 8, to hate everybody your relatives hate, you've got to be carefully taught…."

How lucky we are in Columbus, Ohio to enjoy the special gifts of such a diverse population! We experience first-hand at events such as this festival, the joyful celebration of sharing food, costume, traditions, language, music and dance. Within the diversity, we can taste the threads that tie the human family together. Our children can learn, before it's too late, to appreciate themselves and others. Before they are 6 or 7 or 8, they can learn that this awesome world is made up of people of all sizes, shapes, colors, languages, cultures. They can discover they are part of this quilted sacred design.

Even without an international festival, we can help our children become true citizens of the world. The word is growing smaller by the day and our children will be the citizens shaping it in years to come.

We adults, in everything we do and say, teach and inspire our children. Our beliefs, attitudes and behavior are more powerful than even our wonderful International Festival. We all have to be carefully taught.