One of my daughters and her husband recently adopted my precious and beautiful grandson. He is from the mountain aboriginal people of Taiwan. His beautiful black hair, long legs and broad shoulders are amazingly like his daddy’s. But his bronze skin is very different from that of my three-year-old granddaughter’s, who when she saw a picture of her new baby cousin said, “He looks funny.”
We are all different yet…
There will come a time when your children will be exposed to children and adults from other countries and continents. Their color, dress, habits and language will be different than what they consider normal.
These cultural differences should not be viewed as embarrassing or inappropriate by you. Instead you should view their questions as an opportunity to broaden their horizons and educate them on the differences that make us all unique and special.
It is important to teach your children that though their skin may be lighter or darker than the child sitting behind them, they are both very much alike in the fact that they both need to be loved, both need to be treated with kindness and respect and both enjoy doing all the things kids love to do.
It is important that you teach your children that cultural diversity is not a reason to exclude, demean or even bully someone. A child in Singapore is a child throughout the world.
Experience is the best teacher
When it comes to understanding and being comfortable with cultural differences, the best thing you can do is to give your children a variety of cultural experiences. This can be done by:
- Visiting exhibits and various cultural events such as festivals and ceremonies
- Eating a variety of foods favored in other countries
- Reading about different places or origin and cultures of people you and your children come in contact with
- Befriend the parents of children from other cultures in your child’s classroom, sports team or dance class
- Focus on the similarities rather than the differences-help your child realize that different clothes, accents, etc. don’t change the fact that both children enjoy soccer or that both children struggle with spelling
Set the bar
In spite of the fact that our children test our patience and push our buttons, they look up to us. They mimic our attitudes and actions. So by being respectful and accepting of people from all walks of life, we will be teaching our children to do the same.