Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Do kids see color?
School is back in session. The supplies are bought, the lunches are packed-it feels like you are done right? Wrong. The best thing about a new school year is meeting new people. Your kids are exposed to people from every background, culture and ethnicity in their learning environment. They are getting regular lessons on math, English and history...what about race?
You may be thinking that it is not necessary to discuss this topic with them. Many people have shared with me at book signings that their kids do not see color. I smile and say untrue. Kids are learning their colors everyday. Crayola has a ton of names for them. When we avoid simple questions such as "Why is she brown and I'm not" we may be avoiding a teachable moment.
Some parents have shared that they feel that it is awkward to bring up ethnicity and race with young people because they are afraid of making them focus too much on the outside and not enough on the inside. I understand this concept but try this on for size. Take your children to museums, read them books and have conversations about a variety of cultures so that they can be...well you know cultured. Children shape ideas about the world when they are very young and when they are able to read books with characters from all walks of life it only expands their mind-it does not close it. Many people feel as though they need help bridging the conversation about race-my 1st book helps with this.
"Who I Am Not What I Am" was mentioned in the last edition of Corp! Magazine for the principles that it shares about diversity and inclusion for children. The main character is Janelle and she is asked "What are you?" by her classmates. In the book Janelle has a talk with her parents that help her to understand that she is not a "what" she is a "who". She also learns more about her Multicultural heritage. In the end she also learns that who she is includes her love of biking, ice cream and pets. Have a talk today-even if you've discussed it before. Many awesome stories are available to make the topic fun and interesting and if you get one of my books-I promise to sign it. :)
Read something great!