Your world is not the world


            On a recent trip I took to Europe, a few rainy days meant that I spent more time than I usually do in hotel rooms watching television. I enjoyed the informative programming of BBC World and was quite taken by a promotional ad about their news coverage. Quotations below are from BBC World. Following each quotation are comments that can focus discussion between parents and children.

“Not all trend-setters are fashionable.”

            Whom are you copying? Do you do things that other people are doing because you want to be just like them? Consider doing what is comfortable and right for you, rather than mindlessly following the trends set by others.

“Not all boundaries are drawn on maps.”

            We tell ourselves and each other what we can, can’t, will, and won’t do. Our natural abilities, however, are greater than we give ourselves credit for. Let’s not impose limitations on our children, for they internalize them and then put the same limitations onto themselves.

“Not all world leaders are elected.”

            The American presidential election of 2000 took many weeks to sort out. There is talk of reforming this system. At the same time, though, there are billions of people in the world who are living under leadership for whom they not only never voted, but could be punished for criticizing.

“Not all explorers leave home.”

            There is more than one way to explore the world. You can do what Vasco da Gama and Amelia Earhart did by leaving home. But parents can also help their children understand that exploring is an attitude. It’s a curiosity about learning from other people, from the world around us, and trying to find ways to understand how we can contribute to humanity.

“Not everyone’s world is getting smaller.”

            The surge in popularity of electronics, gadgets, and media make it possible to send and receive messages from around the world in short order. If you don’t have Internet access in your own home, you can go to the public library to get connected. In reality, though, there are more people in the world who have never made or received a telephone call than who have. 

            Jay Davidson lives in Palo Alto and has been teaching in San Francisco for 31 years; he teaches first grade. He is the author of Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents, which is available for $12.95 from You may contact him through his website,

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson