I was asked a pretty tough question this morning. “Help, we don’t know how to deal with this. How should we teach (racial) diversity to the 3-5 year old kids?”
Hmm…my wife and I have both sat on diversity boards, committees and initiatives on the corporate level. But how do you teach 3-year-olds what to say or how to accept each others differences?
I am really glad to be asked this question because I take the inquiry to be sincere and see an opportunity to educate and be of help. But…I don’t know the answer””yet.
How a lack of diversity effects us
I grew up as “the” diversity in my school. I was not in a classroom with another African-American student until 10th grade and that was in the 1970′s and 80′s when race relations were not as “progressive” as they are today. I fought every day, all the way to school and all the way back home. Teachers did not seem to know how to deal with my different perspectives or approaches to learning. They encouraged me not to think about college…and while you can be successful in the military or through a trade I nor my parents took too kindly to being pushed away from and discredited from thinking about college.
But while schools have their problems within the boundaries of the school walls, we as parents are responsible for what we put into our own children outside of the school, as well as keeping the school on their toes, when it comes to our kids. So how do we educate our young children when it comes to who they are and how to interact with others? It has been said that the election of President Obama ushered in a “post-racial era.” Personally, I say not so fast. Racism did not die when the Obamas got the keys to the White House. Our kids still will have to deal with and celebrate the color of their skin.
So BMWK, how do you:
1. Teach your children to love who they are and get along with other little boys and girls who have not yet been so enlightened?
2. How do you help your child’s school promote an environment that incorporates all of our children’s collective greatness?