When you move away from India, and endeavor to assimilate into a new culture,and even if you live still in India and are just living in the ethos of this current millennium, it is extremely easy to let the traditions of our Gujarati heritage fall to the wayside. No one is really to blame when this happens, as we all do our best with what is presented to us every day.
Here are the five things to look out for, as these will be signs that it may be time to bring in more of Gujarati culture in your home and family life.
Your Kids Speak Only English (Language Cues )
Are you of Gujarati heritage but your children only speak English? Do they understand a single word of Gujarati?
Many young parents are in this boat, as they are second or third generations Indians living in America or another country around the world besides India. It is quite possible that they themselves don’t speak the language. Historically, first generation immigrants eschew their country of origin and consciously eliminate the influences from their family lives in order that their children can assimilate more quickly and be seen as less of an outlier. Recently, with the resurgence of cultural identification, this has changed and knowing your mother tongue, whether you use it every day or not, is an essential and unique part of who you are and where you come from. There is a certain sense of belonging, confidence and cultural identity that one gains knowing their mother language.
Your Kids Eat Only Local Cuisine (Food Cues)
Many Indian kids growing up outside of India may view these delicious, nourishing Indian foods as foreign and therefore distasteful. When we involve our children in learning the names of traditional Indian foods, having them watch how these foods are prepared, and experiencing the not commonplace ingredients, it may encourage them to try something new.
Your Kids Just Say ‘hi’ When Greeting Elders (Social Cues)
If you are Gujarati and your kids don’t know how to greet elders in the family, and are unfamiliar with the sayings: “Jai shree Krishna”,Other God names used as greetings or “Namaste” then they may need a lesson in traditional greetings etiquette. Many children who grow up ignorant of their ancestry tend to be shy and sometimes disoriented or bored in cultural environments, as they don’t understand what is happening around them. In turn, they will avoid all or any cultural gatherings or traditions every chance they get.
Your Kids Like Every Other Tradition Than Yours (Cultural Cues)
Are you Gujarati and find that your kids disdain your traditions and are more interested in learning other cultures than your own? We can easily encourage our children to learn Spanish or French and other languages because they are offered in the local schools, readily available. The best way to discover the magic of other cultures and language, is to learn and value your own culture and heritage first. Gujarati culture has had an important impact on world affairs. Do your children know that Gandhi was of Gujarati heritage?
Gandhi is a great example of humility for all of us. Being humble helps us refrain from judging others or feeling either inferior or superior to anyone else. These things help keep nasty prejudice at bay. We can teach our children, as well as ourselves, that everyone is valuable; all of us struggle in one way or another. Together, we can learn Gujarati and we can learn reverence and acceptance for others.