Today’s families are immersed in cultural diversity. Most of us can experience the many different cultures of the world without leaving our home community. We need to consider how we want our children to think about people who come from different places and may look, speak or sound unusual.
How do we teach tolerance, acceptance and kindness?
You are your child’s first and most important teacher. Your children will follow your lead. Showing children your comfort level with different people will set the stage for acceptance. Greet people warmly. Be respectful and make efforts to learn more about their different customs and beliefs. Try to say some words in their language. Listen to them talk about their customs and attire. Taste different foods. Your child will want to do the same!
Give your child opportunities to be around people from other countries so that he/she can see people of different colours and hear languages with different sounds. Visit parks, grocery stores and doctor offices in areas that have an immigrant population. Have dinner with a family that is different from your own. Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
We all look different on the outside, we may have different beliefs about different things, but in the end we are all people. We want to equip our children with attitudes and skills to enable them to live peacefully amongst others with respect for a variety of different customs and beliefs.