I saw a question in a Facebook group asking how do you show or teach your children diversity. I thought to myself how do I do that? Am I changing my kids’ diversity? Did my parents teach me diversity?
I don’t think one of the things you think about when you have kids is how am I going to teach or show them diversity. I was worried about how expensive twins are going to be, how we are going to provide for them, make a home for them and keep them safe. But as they are getting older and with what is going on today in the world, I want my children to be kind, caring and empathic. I want their world not to judge people by the color of their skin, their gender, sexual preference or sexual identity, economic status and still have a strong identity of themselves.
So, how do I instill that in them? How did my parents teach me diversity? Growing up, I have no memory of racial tension as a child. I remember being teased about my name in elementary school. Kids can be cruel. I remember my parents putting me in programs where everyone was not the same color of my skin. Enrolling me in schools where I was the minority, but had the better education. I remember my mom giving me talks (and they were many) about loving myself and being myself.
Now, my parents did not always put things in the perspective of race, but more education and self-esteem. Whether they did that intentionally or not, I don’t know. However, as a person growing up in the south, I will stay that I am an open-minded person and racial discrimination was not an issue I encountered (or maybe it was way over my head or I just did not know it). Was this good for my childhood? I think so.
As I am in my 30s raising my kids, I see the way I teach and show my kids diversity. Diversity is our way of life. Yes, I am in an interracial marriage, but so are their aunts and uncles. Our love is diverse. My kids learn a little more about my Nigerian culture through me and their grandparents. The kids are learning the Spanish and Spanish culture everyday in their school. Their classmates and teachers have a range of cultural and racial diversity from Spain to Indiana and from African American to Asian. Their learning and learning experience is diverse.
Our circle of friends is amazing. My children know my friends who are interracial and multicultural marriages like their parents. They know the friends who have the same skin color as their mom and friends who have the same skin color as their dad. Our kids know our friends who have different cultural backgrounds. They know our friends (unbeknownst to them) whose sexual preference isn’t heterosexual. They have tried and like different foods that is Japanese, Chinese, African, Spanish and Mediterranean. So, when we start traveling abroad, American food will not be the only thing they know.
I think diversity and raising well-rounded kids that include is more than just talking to them about culture and race. It is also being an example and living a life of diversity and inclusion. Teaching by putting words into action. The better question should be not how are we teaching our children about diversity, but rather how are we living a diverse life?