Countries and Capitals – 4

Diversity is the key to a richer life

Kids naturally accept the diversity all around themWhy bother to study a list of countries and capitals? Well, to start learning more about the world! Sure, learning the list is a great memory exercise, but learning about the world is infinitely more fascinating, and the more things you know about it, the more sense it all makes. As you discover the rich diversity of the world and its people, you can’t help but become more accepting.

You might start by just learning the bare facts of which cities are the capitals of which countries, but as you give in to your natural curiosity and investigate further, you start to discover diversity in all manner of things.

You learn more about how the people in those other countries live, a bit about their history and way of life, their industries and so on. You begin to build up some knowledge of their cultures, their political set up and their economies, what struggles they’ve faced and how they dealt with them. It can be the beginning of real understanding, not just of the facts, but of the peoples and the cultures of the world.

It’s a strange old world!
The Falkland Islands is home to only about 3,000 people … and half a million sheep (that’s more than 150 sheep for every man, woman and child! There are reckoned to be over three million lakes in Canada, which means about 9% of Canada is lakes. There are only 4 people per sq. mile in Mongolia, whereas in parts of Hong Kong the population density is at the other extreme – over 300,000 per sq. mile. Saudi Arabia is a big, wealthy country, but it has no rivers at all. All its fresh water comes from desalination plants or underground reservoirs.

A memory exercise opens the door to understanding

I think it’s safe to say that the greater a person’s knowledge of the world, the more accepting of diversity that person is. And right now we need more of that attitude of acceptance. We’ve already suffered too much from the effects of bigotry and small mindedness. Extremism and terrorism are major problems currently facing the world, and they are basically the result of a total lack of empathy.

Education seems to be the only answer. We need to foster a healthy attitude to others, and a simple way to do that is to help educate people about the diversity of the world.

… strange, and yet fascinating …
India is possibly the most diverse country in the world, with regard to ethnicity, economics, languages, climate, cultures or religions. Also, it has never, in its entire history, invaded another country. Larger than the Vatican, Monaco has permanent residents, which makes it the smallest permanently inhabited country in the world. It would fit inside New York’s Central Park. Libya is 99% desert and some parts don’t see rain in decades. Over 3,000 people have successfully scaled Mt. Everest. Climbers have left over 100 tons of rubbish on the mountain, and about 120 corpses.
Strange old world indeed!

Here’s the last section of the countries and capitals list, all the way to Zimbabwe. Take it a page at a time, moving on to the next section only when you’re ready. Remember to revise the ones you’ve already learned, to help the information gel in your mind.

San MarinoSan Marino
Sao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome
Saudi ArabiaRiyadh
Sierra LeoneFreetown
Solomon IslandsHoniara
South AfricaPretoria/Cape Town/Bloemfontein
South SudanJuba
Sri LankaColombo
TanzaniaDar es Salaam
Trinidad and TobagoPort-of-Spain
TuvaluVaiaku village, Funafuti
United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi
United KingdomLondon
United States of AmericaWashington, D.C.
Vatican CityVatican City

Celebrating diversity and acceptance

The more we learn about our world the better we can appreciate diversity. You don’t have to travel to foreign lands to find differences. Even the people in neighbouring towns can seem very different. They might talk differently, or have different customs, or appreciate different things. None of that matters.

Encourage children to accept diversity as normalBasically, for all the diversity and the differences, we’re all the same. And the more we learn, the more accepting we are of the perceived differences (or at least we should be). Check out this amazing video. It’s one of the most powerful things you’ll ever see on the subject of diversity and acceptance.

Acceptance includes the homeless as well

Acceptance isn’t just confined to race, it applies to many things. This short video highlights the way we tend to see homeless people. Again, it’s a very powerful message, and it says so much, and so much more eloquently than any written page ever could.

Help kids learn the important things in life

Do what you can to help kids grow up with an appreciation of diversity. This page offers some great ideas for doing just that. It’s a sad fact that if a child grows up with distorted views they’re likely to hold on to them for life, unless something happens to shake them up and make them re-evaluate their views.

Kids naturally have an attitude of acceptance. Negative attitudes are learned.

Kids naturally have an attitude of acceptance of diversity. Negative attitudes such as intolerance are sometimes absorbed osmotically from others.

You can find lots of resources on the Internet that help teach tolerance and acceptance. Here’s one such page, and it has ideas that could be useful if you’re trying to teach kids to have a caring and inclusive attitude.

Extend your tolerance everywhere …

Sadly, it’s very easy to become impatient with someone because of the way they act, even if it’s due to a medical condition they have no control over. This short video is a beautiful comment on this situation, and if you’re caring for an elderly relative, it can really help put things in a new perspective.

Learn more about the world to better understand its people

Do what you can to memorise the countries and capitals lists, but as well as improving your memory be aware that it really does have another purpose. By understanding the world a little better we can better understand the people who live in it.

The world is trying to deal with some serious problems today, and perhaps the most useful thing we can do, as individuals, is to foster a sensible and caring attitude in tomorrow’s adults. Education really does seem to be the best way to nudge humanity in the direction of sanity, and away from the lunacy  of intolerance.


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