We have often talked about the importance of our children, especially teens, building resilience by experiencing a broader picture of the world and by overcoming obstacles. Several factors have made this more difficult today than in the past. Suburban life styles, fewer teens working after school, heavily scheduled activities and parents who might be keeping too tight a rein on their kids limit teens exposure to some of the realities of life. In addition, if they live in a community without diversity they have few opportunities to interact with peers from different cultures.
Today, along with our guests John Slocum and Beth Lieberman of AmeriSpan, we will offer suggestions on how to expand our children’s horizons. Teens experiencing a different culture and language would certainly be a great strategy and John and Beth will tell us how to make it happen. Their company, AmeriSpan, offers a variety of overseas programs for language and cultural study for teens alone and for teens and their families. They explain how their programs operate and how they meet the concerns of parents regarding supervision and safety. One of their programs for families traveling together resonates with our Family Centered Parenting process in that the family as a unit engages in a project together to learn a new language and to experience a different culture.
We also offer families some ideas on how they can expand the horizons of their children when they don’t have the financial means to support their teens participating in an overseas experience. We close with stories about how these types of experiences benefited our families.