Welcome to the July 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning About Diversity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they teach their children to embrace and respect the variety of people and cultures that surround us. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My senior year in high school, my family adopted a sweet little boy from India.
People. I remember the moment I laid eyes on that little boy’s photo. I dreamed about him being a part of my life for months and months before he walked in the door of our home. I cherished each and every moment I got to have with him before I went to college. I loved that he didn’t look like us. People would stare and in an uncharacteristic move of boldness I would start the conversation about how he was adopted. I told people about how my parents were assigned to him and how we waited for 2 whole years before he came home.
In the years following his adoption, my parents did everything they could to educate and immerse themselves in the Indian culture. My mother was full blooded Italian and we always had celebrated that heritage. And in the summer, she would get dark enough that people actually thought that Chandran was genetically hers. As much as I hate stereotypes, I would constantly remind him that “Indian boys” are good at math and soccer. We don’t know anything about his parents, but not only is my little brother good at math, he’s phenomenal at soccer. Perhaps he was predisposed to being good at soccer and math, but perhaps it was my words… regardless, he’s the awesome soccer player his teammates call “Channy” and #littleindianboy in photo tags.
After my mother died, my father enrolled him in the private school I graduated from and life continued on. Then the day came when I picked him up from school and I asked him if any other boys in his class were Indian (there are a few families at that school who are Indian) and he calmly told me he tells people he’s black. I was shocked and confused… why on Earth wouldn’t he want to shout to the world that he was chosen and LOVED because our parents chose India!
I’m half Italian, the other half primarily from the British Isles. No one ever asks me about my heritage. I don’t stand out. I married a man who is half Norwegian, the other half the same general mix as me. Racial issues aren’t really something we have to deal with. No one cares about the color of our skin.
Years later, I have children of my own and I get to explain to them how loved Uncle Chandran was to be chosen from all those other babies in India. I get to explain to them that he has dark skin because that’s how he was made. And although he looks different from us and he didn’t get to have his mama rock him to sleep every night like my babies did in those early years, he’s still the same as us. He has thoughts and feelings and muscles and two feet just like us.
As far as I am concerned, although we look different, we are still the same. I don’t care what you look like, I only care that you are loved. No matter how tan I ever get, I will never come close to matching my brother, but there was a hole in my big sister heart before he came to our family. As a parent, I feel it’s my responsibility to educate my children about the cultures around us. As a mother, I hope that no matter your color or creed that someone in your life loves you like I love my baby brother. As a sister, I hope everyone gets to have someone that feels immense pride over your life not matter how different you are from each other.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon July 9 with all the carnival links.)
- A gift for my daugther — Amanda, a special education teacher for students with multiple exceptionalities, discusses at My Life in a Nutshell how she will enrich her daughter’s life by educating her the amazing gifts her students will bring to the world.
- The Beauty in Our Differences — Meegs at A New Day writes about her discussions with her daughter about how accepting ourselves and those around us, with all our beautiful differences and similarities, makes the world a better place.
- Accepting Acceptance and Tolerating Tolerance — Destany at They Are All of Me examines the origins of and reasons behind present day social conformity.
- Differences — sustainablemum discusses what she feels to be the important skills for embracing diversity in her family home.
- Turning Japanese — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different shares how she teaches her kiddos about Japanese culture, and offers ideas about “semi immersion” language learning.
- Celebrating Diversity at the International House Cottages — Mommy at Playing for Peace discovers the cultures of the world with her family at local cultural festivals
- Learning About Diversity by Honoring Your Child’s Multiple Heritages — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of truly knowing your roots and heritage and how to help children honor their multiple heritages.
- People. PEOPLE! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is trying to teach her children to use language that reflects respect for others, even when their language doesn’t seem to them to be disrespectful.
- Just Call me Clarice Thomas — Lisa at The Squishable Baby knows that learning to understand others produces empathetic children and empathetic families.
- Diversity of Families — Family can be much more then a blood relation. Jana at Jananas on why friends are so important for her little family of three.
- Diverse Thoughts Tamed by Mutual Respect — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work thinks that diversity is indispensable to our vitality, but that all of our many differences require a different sort of perspective, one led by compassion and mutual respect.
- Just Shut Up! — At Old New Legacy, Becky gives a few poignant examples in her life when listening, communication and friendship have helped her become more accepting of diversity.
- The World is our Oyster — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot is thankful for the experiences that an expat lifestyle will provide for herself as well as for her children.
- Children’s black & white views (no pun intended … kind of) — Lauren at Hobo Mama wonders how to guide her kids past a childish me vs. them view of the world without shutting down useful conversation.
- Raising White Kids in a Multicultural World — Leanna at All Done Monkey offers her two cents on how to raise white children to be self-confident, contributing members of a colorful world. Unity in diversity, anyone?
- Ramadan Star and Moon Craft — Celebrate Ramadan with this star and moon craft from Stephanie at InCultureParent, made out of recycled materials, including your kid’s art!
- Race Matters: Discussing History, Discrimination, and Prejudice with Children — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how her family deals with the discrimination against others and how she and her husband are raising children who are making a difference.
- The Difference is Me – Living as the Rainbow Generation — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, is used to being the odd-one-out but walking an alternative path with children means digging deeper, answering lots of questions and opening to more love.
- My daughter will never know same-sex marriage is not normal — Doña at Nurtured Mama realizes that the recent Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage will change the way she talks to her daughter about her own past.
- Montessori-Inspired Respect for Diversity — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her multicultural family and shares Montessori-inspired ideas for encouraging respect for diversity.
- EveryDay Diversity — Ana at Panda & Ananaso makes diversity a part of everyday living, focusing on raising of compassionate and respectful child.
- Diversity as Part of Life — Even though Laura at Authentic Parenting thought she had diversity covered, she found out that some things are hard to control.
- Inequity and Privilege — Jona is unpacking questions raised by a summit addressing inequity in breastfeeding support at Life, Intertwined.
- 3 Ways to Teach Young Children About Diversity — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama recognizes her family’s place of privilege and shares how she is teaching her little ones about diversity in their suburban community.
- Teaching diversity: tales from public school — A former public high school teacher and current public school parent, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama values living in a diverse community.
- 30 Ideas to Encourage Learning about Diversity While Traveling — Traveling with kids can bring any subject alive. Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with a variety of ways you can incorporate diversity education into your family travels (regardless of whether you homeschool). From couch surfing to transformative reading, celebrate diversity on your next trip!
- Diversity, huh? — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t do anything BIG to teach about diversity; it’s more about the little things.
- Chosen and Loved — From Laura at Pug in the Kitchen: Color doesn’t matter. Ethnicity doesn’t matter. Love matters.
- The One With The Bright Skin — Stefanie at Very Very Fine tries to recover from a graceless reponse to her son’s apparent prejudice.