I like to think I am one of those people who treats everyone with the same respect and care irrespective their beliefs, preferences, choices, backgrounds or looks. And more than this, I like to think I am modelling this behavior so that my children will do the same.
The question I ask myself is, “Am I modelling these behaviors? And how successful am I in instilling these values?
If you could have a camcorder on your shoulder and review your daily behaviors would you stand tall with pride or want to curl up from embarrassment?
Our children observe us every day, they see everything and it is what we do is what they will do.
When your child understands and appreciates the differences among us, when they work well with others, doors will open. Tolerance assists children and adults to be more successful in all aspects of their lives, their relationships, their careers and most importantly their sense of self-worth.
We are sometimes unaware of how ingrained our responses, behaviours and views of the world are. Do we do things because that is what we believe, is it what we were taught or is it our stereotype view of the world? A child is teased because he has an unusual first name, because she is different, because her parents are gay, because she has an unusual interest, because they speak with an accent, the list goes on.
So what can parents do?
What key behaviours do we need to live and breathe by to teach our children respect, tolerance and appreciation for who they are, where they come from and for others that are different?
- Observe what you do first and foremost. Use that camcorder, if you like what you see keep doing it and if not, change it.
- Encourage a conversation about difference between people, and always focus on the similarities that exist.
- Avoid stereotyping people and when you see it happening talk about it, discuss its inappropriateness.
- Start with your own family, treat each of your children as individuals, anticipate, expect and encourage them to have different needs, interests and talents.
- Join a multi-cultural sports team, assist your kids to socialise with team members.
- Give of yourself – volunteer at your kids school or your local charity, get involved, and support those less fortunate than you and your children, in this way your children will learn to recognise and appreciate the differences that exist as well as the similarities and how we can make a difference.
- Celebrate and enjoy the nuances of others, their cultures, religions and lifestyles and explore this with your children so that they see you appreciate the differences that exist. (eating from different cultures is a great place to start)
- Check your words, they have power, use them kindly or not at all.
- Discuss the meaning of prejudice with your children; share what you believe to be acceptable and unacceptable.
- Encourage your children to always be kind to others and call an adult when they see someone being unkind to another person. It can be hard to stand in the way of a bully, but always tell a teacher, responsible adult, someone they trust to stop this happening. Bad behavior where others are hurt is always unacceptable.
Steve Maraboli said it best when he said “How would your life be different if you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”
Start right now – Teach your children to respect the differences among us and develop their self-esteem so that they are bullet proof against other people that do not hold these same values? Teach them the lesson to accept others and set them up for success in their lives.
Show them how treat everyone better.
- http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/teaching-tolerance/kids-respecting-other-religions, Accessed 11 March 2014
- http://www.kidshelp.com.au/grownups/news-research/hot-topics/cross-cultural-differences.php, Accessed 11 March 2014
- http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/tolerance.html, Accessed 11 March 2014
- http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/, Accessed 11 March 2014
- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4491185.Steve_Maraboli, Accessed 11 March 2014