It was talent show night. If you have ever been a 6-year-old girl or had a 6-year-old girl, you know how important talent show night is in their world. We are staying at a family bungalow resort near Rome and it is like summer camp for the kids. There are kids from all over the world to play with every day and wonderful “camp counselors” that organize games and shows for the kids to take part in.
After a balmy 88 degree day, the skies opened up and the tears started to fall, “there is no talent show if it rains,” the girls cried. Bianca and her friends from Germany, Italy and Holland had coordinated a few dances together over the past week. They all worked tirelessly to overcome massive language barriers and communication breakdowns and they couldn’t believe a storm was ruining everything.
A quick thinking camp counselor decided to move the show from the outdoor stage into the bar. The scene that followed will be part of our Italian experience forever. It was 9:00 PM before the talent show was all set up and ready. By this point the World Cup game was on and the bar was packed at this little family resort.
As Bianca and her friends performed their Macarena and Gangnam Style routines, happy hour soccer fans cheered them on clapping with all their might. The girls twirled and sang surrounded by strangers from all over the world that watched them like great aunts and uncles would have in a kitchen growing up. The girls beamed as the crowd yelled Brava, Bien fait! Gut Gemacht! When they were done, the lady at the bar gave them gelato and they sat and watched the game for a bit to cool down, among their new fans.
I could not help but think how amazing it is that our children feel like they are part of a world community now. They always have been, as we all are, but they feel it now. They don’t have any cultural expectations for things to go a certain way because many of their friends are from different cultures. It did not even phase Bianca that spinning to “hey sexy lady” from Gangnam Style, in a bar, after 10PM, would not have been part of her life in the United States.
They come into things wide open because they have no preconceived notions for how things are done in Italy, Spain, France, Germany or Holland. It struck me, as I was watching this talent show, that the first step in becoming a global citizen is stripping away the preconceptions of how things “should be” in order to see things for what they are.