Lucky Mom

Jun. 6, 2011

Getting Your Son to Appreciate Cultural Diversity is Easy With Soccer

Lucky Mom guestpost: This piece was written by Madeline Ferrara of Atlanta, GA.

I'm all about raising my kids to not be white bread.

I don't mean to say I'm exactly keen on the idea of grandchildren being raised Rastafarian, but if it were up to me every child would be learning a foreign language by age 8. Then again, that's certainly easier said than done.

I know all too well how hard it is to get kids to care about important cultural matters in their native language let alone learning about another one.

They'd much rather play video games or kick the ball around.

That got me thinking though. I'm no child psychologist, but it seems to make perfect sense to me that if you're able to incorporate fun into the learning experience, it increases the likelihood that a child is going to not only be interested but retain the information.

The important thing is that you can't coerce kids into accepting your definition of fun. Going to the museum might not be fun, but watching Night at the Museum might be, and it provides a base for future interest in history if your kid realizes Sacagawea was super cool. It wasn't that easy for me though, I have a ten-year-old son I had to try to get interested in something besides Black Ops and sports. But I had a plan, oh did I have a plan.

My plan consisted primarily of two parts: the motherly gesture of allowing him to rent the latest FIFA game was part one. I waited for the subject of the international insanity over soccer to strike my son enough for him to ask about it. This would've only happened had I sat down with him while he played and provoked him to explain to me about the different teams. He wanted to know why soccer was hardly ever on television in the U.S. Exito!

Phase two began. Very casually I proceeded to inform him about how things like the Copa America and other exciting futbol matches are readily available to watch through Univision's website online. His eyes lit up as I started to see the gears of gratitude turn in his head. In an instant I could tell I was going to be seeing a lot of soccer on the computer in the weeks ahead. Call it motherly intuition.

What I didn't tell him was that the broadcasts are of course almost exclusively in Spanish and that the websites he'd need to navigate to get the best match coverage video are likely to be in non-English. When he discovered this, his predisposition to the wonders of watching his favorite sport erased any intimidation in finding his way to online soccer matches. These days it's not so much the games I see as it's the Spanish-speaking announcers I hear, which whether he knows or not he's listening to too.

Will this turn my kid into a Rhodes Scholar overnight? No, and it probably won't transform his fascinations from typical boyhood interests into intellectual aspirations. But you never know. Maybe I got the ball rolling?

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