You’ve seen the news headlines. Black Lives Matter. Police Lives Matter. A Day Without Immigrants.
Our world is full of diversity, yet our country and our world is plagued by a lack of empathy. What good is diversity if we don’t know how to embrace it?
Teaching diversity to our kids — how to embrace cultures, languages, and customs of people who differ from them — will help to empower a generation of successful millennials in a world that is ever changing.
Embracing others does not mean total acceptance of their ways. It means finding value in each other’s differences. Here are a few ways you can teach children to embrace diversity.
Read Books with Diverse Characters
This is the easiest way for teaching diversity to young children. If you have toddler-aged children, it may be difficult to have long conversations about diversity. When you buy books for your child(ren)’s library, choose ones that showcase a variety of skin tones, cultures, and holidays.
Teaching Diversity Doesn’t Just Mean Racial Diversity
In America, we are so driven by race. For example, schools receive funds partially from the amount of minority students they have enrolled. Teaching your kids to have empathy for all people, such as those with disabilities, different economic brackets, those not raised by their biological parents, etc., is an important lesson that parents can teach early on.
Immerse Your Child(ren) in Various Cultures
If you can’t afford to travel the world, then you can still make small steps to immerse your kids in various cultures. Take your kids to a Black History Museum. Try a new ethnic restaurant. Attend a local Multicultural festival. If you live in a college town or a big city, this should be easy. Many colleges and/or organizations will host a variety of multicultural events throughout the year.
If you don’t know where to begin, contact the International Studies department at your local university. They may have a calendar of events that you can add to your personal calendar. You’d also be amazed how much you can learn simply by watching the History and Travel channels.
Explore Your Own Cultural Background
Start by looking at your own family tree. You may be surprised what investigating your roots will reveal! Most people are amazed at where their family tree leads them. This can be a fun project your family can embark on together. Have your child conduct family interviews. Look through old family photo albums. If you don’t have access to family archives, do your own search through Ancestry.com.
Socialize with Others Who Differ From You
Trust me, your kids are watching. If you tell them they should embrace diversity but everyone in your social circle looks the same, what kind of message are you sending? Are you really teaching diversity?
You may in fact be telling them to listen to your words but ignore your actions. We all know how well that works. So broaden your social circle. Invite the new young couple over from church. Attend the BBQ that your coworker invited you to. If you’re a minority, then being the only one in a social circle is not always a bad thing. It teaches you to be resilient and appreciate people around you. It’s also a great way to teach your kids how to behave in various social situations.
Remember, your actions speak louder than your words when it comes to teaching diversity.
Photo Credits Sushi and Children: freedigitalphotos.netby
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