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Raising Wayland: Opportunities for Cultural Awareness

Helping kids understand unique traditions and beliefs.

You can't walk outside this time of year without being bombarded -- either literally or figuratively -- with "HOLIDAY" in bright, flashing lights.

For many, this is a time of year to commemorate signficant religious events. For others, it's a colorful, joyful, memorable opportunity to give gifts and gather with family. For still others, the December holidys mean having a couple of weeks off school, a few days off work and a chance to take a vacation or relax at home -- without all the hullabaloo of trees and candles and presents.

Regardless of which group youf family falls into, your kids attend school and likely have friends who fall into different groups. How do you explain this time of year to your children?

If you don't celebrate with gifts, how do you control expectations among your children? If you do celebrate with gifts, how do you teach your children sensitivity for their classmates who do not? And what about the religion question: If this is a meaningful religious holiday for your family (or if it isn't) how do you instill respect for individuals who celebrate in a different manner or don't celebrate at all.

It seems that this time of year, perhaps more than any other, exposes children to a meeting of cultures, traditions and expectations. So what does that means for your family?

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