If we look into the science of things, it has been proven that between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of change. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80% of its adult volume. By age 5, the foundation that shapes a child's future health, happiness and growth has been laid. A child will never learn throghout her life as quickly as she does now. With love, affection, encouragement and mental stimulation, nutritious meals and good health care, any child will most certainly thrive. These pillars form a solid foundation to develop a sense of trust and security, that turns into confidence as they grow.
When it comes to our family unity, people often comment on the 'amazing' skills of our son speaking many languages at such a young age, failing to realize that bilingualism, and often multilingualism since birth, is actually the norm in many countries. In Malta for instance, where Erik was born, people are at the bare minimum bilingual while most are trilingual. The difference for us is that our children are not 'local' anywhere. Erik was born in Malta, Nelly in Norway where we have our home base now, we spend the winters in Thailand, a lot of time in Greece plus travelling. By being immersed in many different cultures and never really owning one, my main concern for them is to make sure they grow up emotionally healthy and confident without feeling lost and rootless. I felt we are on the right track when an aunt of mine asked Erik this June in which country does he like it the most. He turned to her looking a bit confused, as if what he was about to say was obvious, and simply answered 'I like it everywhere'.
At about 3 1/2 years of age, Erik started asking questions about the different countries and places we've been too. He even started mentioning a bunch of other countries and places that he had never visited, like Spain, insisting at the time he was a Spanish doctor and that he had been there on holidays with his grandparents. Inevitably we started talking about where he is from. And the answer was too complicated for him to grasp it.
As a writer and as a mother, I had to come up with a story which would help a young multicultural child make sense of his world. 'Where am I from?' is a story that embraces diversity and points to the concept of our oneness. I am proud to say this will be the first picture book ever to be fully illustrated with street art and we're kicking it off right now via crowdfunding on Kickstarter. I also took things a bit further, and complimented this book story by reaching out to experts and creating the essential guide 'How to Raise Confident Multicultural Children' written with full chapter contributions by Dr. Ute Limacher-Riebold, Dr. Brigitte Vittrup, Vivian Chiona, Psychologist & Counsellor, B.Sc, M.Sc. This one is available to download for FREE, and you can go through it before we meet in November, simply by clicking here
and share about or book on social media. You will also be able to download two short stories I 've written.
During the Goddesses Gathering 2018, we will start the discussion with an account of my experience raising multicultural kids in different countries, our struggles, how we tackled the development of the different languages and what did when our eldest dropped English and also regressed in Greek a few months after we had moved to Norway. We will also discuss how we maintain stability in our family (which is possible, think of the nomad tribes :) ), what do we do about healthcare and how do we tackle education.
After that, there is going to be plenty of time for more questions. If there's something you already know you'd like to discuss, you can connect with me on Facebook (Elisavet Arkolaki or Maltamum) or send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org . Looking forward to meet you all and bring my family for the first time in Scotland. Daddy will be in charge of the kids ;)
Love and Light, Liza.
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