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.