Friday, September 14, 2018

Talking about differences with your children isn't enough

I did not grow up in a very diverse world. The other children in my elementary school looked a lot like me. It wasn't until we moved several times and I went to high school that I was able to meet and make friends from different racial and economic backgrounds than mine.

And while I do not recall there being any specific conversations about diversity in my household, I do remember being told that everyone is worthy of respect and kindness, and that everyone is needed.

I have carried those same sentiments forward into my son's life: That everyone should be respected. And I try - in an age appropriate way - to tell my son that diversity and inclusion leads to a better life overall; when we are curious about other people, we learn the most.

But it turns out that talking is not enough. The activities my son participates in, the children he plays with, the places we go on vacation, the neighborhoods we go to - it is through those actions that he is absorbing the real values of our family.

It's a powerful reminder that parent actions speak much louder than our words. And it does give me something to think about the next time I sign him up for an extra-curricular activity.

Does your family have regular talks about diversity? Tell me how they go in the comments.

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