I have imagined what it would be like to raise Armenian children in the diaspora. As a first generation Armenian American, I am grateful for my family and my upbringing in our small, but vibrant Providence community.
As I watch my generation grow up, I also see the new generation stepping up. I find myself envisioning the environment I want my children to grow up in: Armenian church, Armenian school, Armenian organizations, Armenian friends, etc.
Since I’m not yet a parent myself, I consider the following less of a “How To” raise an Armenian child and more of a “Let’s Do.”
Let’s give our children Armenian names and lose the fear of other people mispronouncing them.
Let’s aim to speak strictly Armenian at home, so our children’s first language will be Armenian. They will learn English (or their native country’s language) at school, I promise. We all did.
Let’s feed them Armenian food, so they can appreciate the love and flavors that go into our traditional meals and continue to pass on these beloved recipes.
Let’s play, dance and sing Armenian music with them, so they can participate in our rich musical culture.
Let’s read to them in Armenian, so they can hear our colorful storytelling at an early age.
Let’s send them to Armenian school and encourage active participation in our church and community organizations. Let’s build their social network with Armenian friends.
Let’s please try and take them to Armenia, so that they grow to love our beautiful motherland at an early age.
Lastly, let us all commit to these actions to strengthen our nation and culture. We have all seen the sadness and heartbreak that came from the current situation in our homeland, and we must proactively work to ensure we grow as a strong, united and passionate Armenian people, more than ever before.
We are all responsible for the future of our homeland, and it all starts from home.
Serious question. Why, if Armenians love Armenia, don’t Armenians live in Armenia? A period of exile is understandable. But, do you love the comforts of the US more than Armenia? If so, why raise your kids Armenian? Just Americanize instead. If Armenia is valuable, why not orient towards that. Or, Americanize is that is what is important. I do not understand why those with a homeland do not wish to live there.
You don’t have to understand the way our diaspora and love of homeland work. The diaspora is centuries old and has been able to keep their culture regardless of if where they are. We got this.
Serious question: What does americanize mean? Specifically to the point of the author here: Should they not speak Armenian but become monolingual just for the sake of it, not eat dolma but only burgers, not listen to Aznavour but only to Sinatra? Also bit of an odd question also as Americans are among those that never are willing or able to adjust when moving abroad whether it comes to language, food, culture, etc. – now, would they head back if they US were a landlocked country of 30,000 sq km with no economic perspective for them? Not sure. Would they adjust and become locals if that was the case? Hard to tell. So, not sure where this “serious” question is coming from other than from a slightly loaded place.
I’d also recommend asking the question in a more broad sense. Plenty of other, far more influential special national/religious interests in the US that you it sound like you would like to fix by sending them “home” before you get to largely benign Armenians>. :^)
And most importantly marry an Armenian…
Yea.. not a fan tbf. Gotta be a no from me, fam.
Unger Garo, “Job well done”. You have quite an impressive resume at such a young age. Keep up the good work.
Garo mentions all the points that we have been urging Diasporan Armenians to do for decades now. And the result? If you review the history of Diasporan communities you will see uptakes in activism followed by downturns and each uptake is smaller or is “weaker” than the previous ones. Especially following the independence of Armenia, Social Media taking over the world (and Armenian reality), the victories in Artsakh and the humiliating defeat we suffered under Pashinyan… All this should push us to think outside the box on how to preserve Armenian-ness in the Diaspora, how we define Armenian-ness in the Diaspora, what role we should expect and request from the Armenian State to preserve Armenian-ness and engagement in the Diaspora. And thinking outside the box is something people my age expect from the new generation like Garo and his friends all over the the Armenian Diaspora.