Heritage Group Guide

Volume VIII, Number II

Artwork by Iain Campbell

Where do you come from? This phrase often comes up during discussions of one’s heritage. In this issue, young contributors from around the world explore food, family, and ancestry to understand deep questions of culture and customs. You’ll find articles, poems, and artwork on everything from the phrase tikkun olam ("healing the world") to triathlons.

1. Jung Woo Bae, founding editor of KidSpirit’s New Zealand Editorial Board, responds to the issue’s Big Question. He writes, “Although I live in New Zealand, I eat Korean food, speak Korean at home . . . ultimately, my Korean heritage is part of my identity.” Have you or someone you have known experienced two cultures at once? How do you understand your own heritage? How does your ancestral history compare to the culture you identify with today? Do these paths conflict or converge? How so?

2. In her emotive Interfaith Connections article “Caught in the Middle,” writer Maya Mesh grapples with one question: Can who your parents are, and where they’re from, change how others see you? Read her piece to find out her answer. Before you do, think about where your parents come from. Did you grow up in the same city as they did? The same state or country? Do you have a different cultural or racial background? How does your childhood compare to your mother’s or father’s experience? What similarities do you notice? Differences?

3. Dr. Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer, posits a deceptively simple question in his PerSpectives article, “A Message to Youth.” He asks: "What does it mean to be human and alive?" He encourages his young readers to explore the world, to seek teachers, to be the “architects” of their lives. In what ways do you participate in the human experience? How can you participate more deeply? How might you meet Dr. Davis’s challenge to “dream the impossible”? What are your impossible dreams?