Recently the “R-word” was used to insult the President on Twitter by the political commentator and author Ann Coulter. Understandably, the improper and condescending use of the word upset many people, but none expressed so elegantly why the misuse of the word was hurtful as Special Olympic athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens, who found these words to describe his feelings:
“After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash. Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor. No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.”
Both special needs and cultural diversity are important topics, and sometimes they’re difficult to talk about with children. As this article mentions, sometimes we can be hesitant or worried to talk about these issues because we don’t want to come off as discriminating. But we can’t pretend there aren’t any differences between people, because there are, and all these differences should be celebrated, but more importantly, respected.
Puzzle Warehouse has some great puzzles, music CDs and activity books that can help you get the conversation started teaching your children about different cultures and countries. If you don’t know a lot about these places, you and your child can have fun learning together!
With a great starting point like puzzles, music and games, it’s easy to get the conversation started with your children. With the help of some article research (find links below), here are 10 things to do to teach your children about diversity:
- Don’t be blind to differences. Be honest about them.
- Recognize that you may consciously or unconsciously harbor negative feelings, biases and prejudices about others.
- Point out stereotypes, acts of prejudice and bias depicted in TV, movies, computer games and other media. Read books or watch videos with tolerance, diversity and multicultural themes with your children.
- Integrate culturally diverse artwork, literature or music in your home.
- Teach them that a disability is only one characteristic of a person. People have many facets: likes and dislikes, strengths and challenges.
- Teach them that children with disabilities can do many of the things your child does, but it might take them longer. They may need assistance or adaptive equipment to help them.
- Encourage your children to find common ground with everybody.
- 8. Teach them that it’s okay to ask others questions, so long as their questions are considerate and respectful.
- Discuss weaknesses and strengths of people who have different abilities.
- Remember that talking about tolerance and diversity is an ongoing process. Lead by example.
Here are some articles that expound on how you can help your children learn about differences in a positive way: