08/16/2013 04:30 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2013

Teaching Children about the World


I can remember the moment as clear as day. It was Multicultural Day in my son's second grade class. We attend a very diverse school and there are so many different countries and cultures represented in this small public school in the heart of Los Angeles. Everyone was asked to make a dish that represents where they are from. My son, an American Civil War buff at the time, begged me to make hardtack. Although I knew that it wouldn't be a popular dish, we do strange things for our kids. I volunteered to serve the children the various foods at the feast, and watched my son's friend, Niora, place an African dish right next to our hardtack. The delicious smells were so overpowering, my lowly hardtack was overlooked immediately.

I began inviting the kids over to try this "amazing Ethiopian dish." Finally, after 20 minutes and an empty dish, Niora's mom whispered something in my ear.

"I'm Eritrean. The dish is not Ethiopian."

Let's just say that I was more than a little bit embarrassed. Americans can be pretty self-centered, and I stupidly mixed up two countries. But more ridiculous? I, an Ivy League educated person with an advanced degree, had never heard of Eritrea.

I vowed that day that to educate my children on world geography. It's important to think globally, which is why I'm proud to share this amazing video with you. It makes maps interesting. Plus, you may even learn a thing or two.

And Niora's mom forgave me. We're now the best of friends... despite my ignorance. Thanks, Tekea.