As much as I and my wife have loved the cultural experience in Bosnia nothing prepared us for how wonderful an experience it would be for our two year old son.
We are always careful about our sons interaction with other children, how he shares with others, is he polite etc. Often when dealing with kids in America, kids push, don't share, throw things at strangers etc. Parents in this country even when present are often absent and unaware, tapping away at their PDA while their brats are being mean to little children on the playground (an actual experience of ours).
Bosnia has a relationship based culture, unlike our own rule of law based culture. This is both good and bad. When you need to get something done in Bosnia it is more about who you know than is it right or is it fair. The upside of this relationship based culture is the behavior of ones child is a direct reflection upon the parents and family. If your child is unruly or rude it is YOU, the parents fault. Children often live at home until married, having children live at home until 30 is not uncommon, neither is a new family staying at home until they establish themselves. Instead of just pushing your kids out the door at 18 or when they finish college.There is an obvious upside to this, juvenile crime is almost unheard of in Bosnia. In fact there was no laws on the books to imprison children for crimes until recently after a high profile murder case in Bosnia involving a child, the first of it's kind in the country. It was such a shocking situation it brought people out in the streets to protest the breakdown of the society since the war and the traditional families.
Our personal experience with family and children in Bosnia was excellent and even in Serbia we had a situation were they treated Dejan (our son) with such kindness that it brought tears to my wife's eyes. In Bosnia outside our hotel in Hrsano the neighborhood kids saw Dejan wearing a Miralem Pjanic jersey (famous member of the BiH soccer team) the kids even though much older came over to him and involved them in their soccer game cheering him with chants of "Pjanic! Pjanic! Yeah!" Dejan being so young didn't fully grasp it but he loved it and so did we. From then on all the kids in the neighborhood greeted Dejan with chants of "Pjanic" every time they saw him.
On a night trip for dinner to the beautiful restaurant Park Princeva there was a local band playing traditional Bosnian music. Dejan loving music spent most of the night dancing with the band and a local group of teenagers who belonged to a sporting organization. They danced with him, cheered him and when they left took pictures with him and gave him the traditional Bosnian kiss on each cheek or a friendly pat or kiss on the head.
At the Historical museum of Bosnia there is a fountain in the center courtyard that Dejan was walking along, a older girl came along and tried to casually block his path. Dejan navigated his was around her skillfully and the next time around she adjusted her position to better block his path (again in a very casual way as if her blocking him was unintentional) again Dejan made he way around her again. This scene between the two repeated for almost 10 minutes with us and the other parents laughing and taking pictures and videos. They both played so well together and were adorable in doing so. In America another person video taping your child would usually result in a call to the local police, in Bosnia it was a reason to cheer and to celebrate.
At the Sarajevo historical museum they had a display about called Sarajevo Survival tools, Dejan was in a stroller and no elevator existed so my wife decided to wait in the at the entrance while a friend and I went thru the place. The people at the admission booth offered to watch Dejan so Kristy could go through we declined the offer, but we thought and said to each other...
Only in Bosnia, only with the ones we love.