The international media attention focusing on Amanda Knox’s attempted murder case in Perugia, Italy, has taught me one thing – when my children are ready to travel the world on their own, I want them to be prepared and to be respectful of other cultures. Whether or not Knox is guilty is irrelevant – her parents felt she was prepared to travel internationally. From what I’ve read, she was an intelligent, confident and independent young woman.The same attributes I’d wish for my own children to have as they become young adults. But as journalist Nina Burleigh writes in an article for the San Francisco Chronicle, although we as parents may think (or want to think) our children are prepared, they may not be and a conversation beforehand may be a good idea to include on that checklist before they board that airplane.
How do you prepare your children to travel without you? How do you teach them to be respectful of other cultures?
Just as you’re not provided with a manual on how to raise children, these questions need to be considered in totality and not isolated incidents. It’s about teaching our children respect overall, to be smart, street-savvy travelers without destroying their natural curiosity about life, people and cultures. To be inquisitive without being inappropriate. To be empathetic. They also learn them through model behavior. If we, as their parents or caregivers show them how to act when we travel, they’ll pick up those cues from us.
So while the Knox case doesn’t affect me personally since I’m not a family member or involved in this case, it has reminded me of the importance of being not only a smart traveler, but well-prepared as well.
What do you recommend parents do to prepare their children for their first international trip solo?