Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
Travel experiences with dads usually bring about colorful and joyful memories which are intrinsic part of every child’s upbringing and part of mental, physical, emotional development of child and sure does sound like pure fun. In my experience almost every kid with a few exceptions here and there would have had in the past memorable experiences travelling with their dads and creating happy memories along the pleasant journeys that one might have undertook being a child. When I was a kid, I used to travel with my dad throughout different parts of India and the US and I absolutely enjoyed every second of these memorable trips on which I learnt plethora of ideas and techniques and they have had a definitive impact on my overall personality and the way my attitudes and beliefs were shaped.
On each and every such trip I would come across something new and from the fresh experiences I would be able to expand my mental horizons and broaden my perspectives of life which is immensely valuable. My father would also encourage me to go around these new places and explore on my own to discover my inner emotions and to learn to be independent . He would also assign small tasks and play games with me and make me encounter some difficult situations deliberately such as negotiating with toddlers during the trip, which have immensely enlightened me throughout my MBA student life here in the united states of america.
My father would also make it a point that I make new friends and relationships during this journey and therefore would encourage me to make new connections on the journey whether it is a train or an aircraft or being able to mingle with the locals in the particular destination and also haggling for a better price with vendors so that I learn to stand on my own feet when I grow up to become an adult. My father would also ensure on how to be extra cautious when it comes to talking with strangers on who to trust and whom not to trust and also to be responsible with my travels bags and luggage , which would ensure that I do not get lost in the busy streets of the destinations in the usual crowded places of India. I used to enjoy and relish the times when we traveled far and near across the different lengths and breadths of the country and explore the scenic beauty of all these places in different parts of the countryside, such as lakes, rivers, safaris and visiting historical landmarks and monuments. My dad would also give me a holistic account of everything about the destination so that I appreciate the historical context behind the monument or the landmark and also learn new information around art and history that come along.
My dad ensured that through these travel experiences I would not just have a narrow tunneled vision of the world but would have such rich experiences that would teach me pivotal life skills so that I also become life smart and not just examination smart and a nerd boxed in a prism of just bookish education which focuses on building people who do not have appreciation for other colors of life. These skills were invaluable to me when I became an MBA student and left India for studies in the USA, and by then I was sufficiently trained with the necessary survival skills to adapt myself to different circumstances that would come my way and never felt the fear of the unknown. By these experiences, I have learnt make the best out of life wherever I travel and live.
Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.