America is often called a melting pot and today we live in a more diverse culture than ever before! In recent years, talk of race and culture have been on parents and educators minds. We ask ourselves: How do we raise children to love cultural diversity? And to be loving toward all people?
To me, it’s sad we live in a world where we have to tip toe around these conversations. Say the wrong thing and you are automatically called racist. Cancel culture and polarizing opinions confuse parents.
As parents we understand we need to do better. We know the importance of raising kind children, but we are sometimes nervous to ask questions.
What if we say the wrong thing? What if we offend someone?
I don’t have all the answers and I’m not an expert, but as a woman raising biracial children I’ve thought deeply about this topic.
As a family we love exploring new places, trying new foods and traveling. We value cultural diversity and learning about other people.
When my husband and I dated we had many conversations about race and how we’d to talk to our children about their heritage.
My husband and I both firmly believe if we want to raise children to appreciate other cultures and races, it starts at home.
As much as we’d want to, as parents we can’t heal every single injustice. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.
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5 ways to celebrate diversity with your children!
As your children’s parent you play a powerful role in shaping their hearts. What a blessing that is! You can change the world by loving your children.
In this article I share 5 practical ways to do this at home. Be sure to share your questions and suggestions in the comments below.
#1: Be the Example
This may be the most important tip! Children are ALWAYS watching. Be the example of love to your children. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR. Build relationships with a diverse group of friends. And don’t just talk about social justice, live it.
I recently heard this quote and it will forever stick out in my mind. “I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do” by James Baldwin. Don’t be that person who talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. Lead by example with your actions.
Children are curious and if your children have questions for you about other cultures or races, don’t be afraid to engage in a conversation with them. It’s best when your children hear it from you!
Different does not mean better or worse, it’s just different. Be an example to your children, embrace different ethnic foods and engage with friends of various cultures, races, etc. Your children are watching!
#2: Learn By Experience
We can’t wait to travel outside of the United States with our kids. Travel is one of the best ways to learn about other cultures and customs. When you immerse yourself in others, you see the beauty in every person.
If travel isn’t possible you can still learn by experience. Look for different festivals in your area, visit museums or find an international pen pal. We sponsor a child through Compassion and he lives in Tanzania.
His picture hangs on our fridge and when we get letters we read them to the kids. We also talk to them about his life (they were shocked to learn he didn’t have a car or even a mattress to sleep on!).
Listen to other people’s experiences. Learn from them! Experience LIFE together with your kids.
#3: Try New Foods
Trying new foods is always a fun way to learn about a new culture. If your kids aren’t the most adventurous eaters you can start slowly. Try starting with a new dessert.
Before I met my husband I was a cautious eater. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of diverse foods. So when we dated he loved taking me to different restaurants. It was a great experience and I learned I love kimchi, afghani food and tikka masala.
When we had children we knew we wanted to expose them to a variety of foods! We love trying new restaurants, but we also try different foods at home.
We recently purchased this American Girl Cookbook: Around the World Cookbook. So far we’ve made the Cubano and the French Apple Tart. We’ve loved cooking new foods together as a family.
When you try new foods talk to your children about where in the world the food comes from. You can even show them the country on your map.
#4: Learn Through Books and Activities
I’d love to travel each month, but it’s just not practical. You can learn about different ethnicities, countries and cultures through books and activities.
We love to celebrate diversity by studying different regions of the world. Books are a great way to show children that not everyone lives like they do! Browse your library. Find books with diverse characters. Study a new country each month. Be adventurous and curious together.
Crafts and activities are another fun way to expose children to different cultures. You can find tons of easy and educational crafts on Pinterest.
#5: Don’t Overcomplicate it
Raising kids who appreciate and love cultural diversity shouldn’t be this great big mystery. I hope by now you’ve seen it’s not complicated.
We believe every person has been made in the image of God. God’d love for His children never changes. And He does not show favoritism. He created us all wonderfully and fearfully.
We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. And if we see an injustice, we point it out. When our children treat one another poorly, we correct them.
We ask God to search our own hearts and we trust He will guide us in raising loving children.
It’s a journey and as I said before we can’t fix everything, but we can shape the next generation by looking at our homes.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What questions about diversity do you have? What do you struggle with as a parent raising a child in today’s world? Share with us in the comments below!