‘It is time for parents to teach young children early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.’ – Maya Angelou
November 20th is Universal Children’s Day. This day was chosen in an effort to raise awareness about the sometimes overlooked and unique issues that children face as they learn and grow in a very fast moving adult world. And here in Dubai things move oh so fast! We at The Hundred Wellness Centre is celebrating this observance by sharing advice in helping children growing up in this modern world.
One of the truly wonderful things about our modern UAE world is the diverse cultural background that many of us enjoy, and the unique acceptance of that diversity within all the communities. Take a moment to reflect on your own family background, and what holds you together. What character traits, physical features, ethnicity, and interests come together to make your family unique. And with all these differences, every family has a different set of expectations for behaviour and attitudes towards self-expression. These ‘differences’ however can sometimes lead children to have negative comparisons or struggle with poor body image, and this happens when young people are desperate to ‘fit in’ and don’t realize that we all fit in just the way we are!
We can all agree that we want our children to grow up in a world that is free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included, and never having to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. So how can we best prepare children to meet the challenges and reap the benefits, of the increasingly diverse world they are growing up in? We can raise children to celebrate and value their own diversity, and to be proud of themselves and their family traditions. We can teach children to respect and value people regardless of the color of their skin, their physical abilities, or the language they speak.
Teaching diversity to children helps them to respect and celebrate the differences in all people, while learning about different cultural aspects of their peers. One of the most impactful ways of doing this is to model it through our own behaviours, and how we deal with different people. This also helps them realize that we’re all humans, despite differences in how we look or dress, or what we eat or celebrate. An important perspective that we need to teach our young children is that while we are all different…we are all the same. ‘When I see you through my eyes, I think that we are different. When I see you through my heart, I know we are the same’ – Doe Zantamata.
Please share with us in the comments below what you think is the best way to teach kids about diversity?