Saturday, June 04, 2011

The Cultural Ambassador

I was recently reminded of two things:

1. I learn as much from my children as they learn from me. Who knows, maybe I learn more from them?!
2. When living overseas, at times, one can unwittingly become a cultural ambassador.

I was coming home from work the other day and my eldest son was in a sandlot close to our home and I could see that he was playing a game with some neighborhood kids. As I passed by the sandlot, I slowed down asked my son if everything was ok, he answered in the affirmative and I proceeded home. From our home, I could see the sandlot and I could then see that Miles and the mostly Omani neighborhood kids were playing baseball. Miles was showing the kids how to hit the ball, which bases to run and how to run them, and other basics of the game. I just stood in the window of the family room watching all this go down. After sometime, as it was getting closer to dinnertime, I went outside to tell Miles that is it was time to come in. I could see that he and the neighborhood kids had finished their game and were walking towards our home. When Miles was in our driveway I asked him, “Miles, how did you and the other kids come to play baseball?” Miles answered, “ The other day, I was in the front of the house with a bat and ball and playing with Evan. Some of the kids saw us and asked me what were we doing? I told them that we were playing baseball. So today, the kids came to the house and asked if I could teach them how to play and I said, ok. So, I taught the kids how to play and it was fun!” As I was now smiling, I told Miles how proud I was of him for showing, sharing, and teaching others how to play a sport. After Miles and I spoke, I got to thinking how Miles was exporting some of our cultural (U.S. cultural) to the kids of Oman. It was cool to think of how a little kid; how any kid, could unwittingly become a cultural ambassador.

Post Script: A few days after Miles showed his friends how to play baseball, I was having a conversation with a friend/colleague/neighbor named Ray about Miles and the baseball playing episode. Ray said, “I saw the whole thing go down. I was coming home from work and slowed down in the road and saw Miles teaching the kids how to play baseball, it was cool. So, once I got home, I grabbed my camera, went back outside, and I took a picture of the boys. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 9 years and that was the first time I had ever seen anyone play baseball here. It was cool to see Miles teaching the kids how to play.”

Photo Taken by Ray Montoya

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