How to Teach Ours Kids About Diversity With I Love Being Me, Uniquely Me

Teaching our kids about diversity matters, they say…

When my daughter was in preschool, she asked me, “Mommy, Alexia asked me why our skin color is different. Why is my skin light brown and she, her skin is dark brown?” The question was innocent, and the kids were reaching an age where they were beginning to notice the differences among themselves.

It Was All About Curiosity

I realized I was going to have to approach the subject of diversity and how we are all unique because of the influence of our heritage, family, friends, etc.

Thankfully, I had some backup since Cultural Day at her school was just around the corner. She was thrilled about the event and it helped me and my husband navigate and figure out how to answer the question… What is diversity?

The project was a brilliant opportunity to share lively stories about my Jamaican heritage of spicy and exotic foods, junkanoo parades and colorful clothes, dance, and reggae music. As I reminisce and I see her funny reactions to things that are not her day to day normal, I realize just how much diversity is in my own home.

Realizing that all households are unique and within their walls each family is diverse helped me decide not to address skin color, but instead focus on the beauty of diversity in its entirety.

From Kay’s personal archive: childhood and youth in Jamaica have thaught her to embrace her cultural heritage and diversity.

Diversity is Not Skin Deep

Diversity is discovering what we enjoy about other cultures, not focusing on why we are different.

Music & Dance

  • Do you tap your foot when you hear some calypso music?
  • Do you feel the need to sway our hips when some salsa is playing?
  • Do you feel a little emotional tug on hour heart strings when you hear a country song?

Architecture

Even the architecture across the United States is diverse.

  • How can you not be in awe of the towering building in New York City?
  • Enjoy the hominess of the lush green and quietness of Seattle?
  • What about the long stretches of pastures with barns and silos throughout the Midwest?
  • How do you feel when you see the old European style buildings in New Orleans?

Food

Often, we overlook diversity in food. We are so used to enjoying different style of food on our plate, we sometimes forget to appreciate the culture and the people that introduced it to us.

Teaching about diversity and acceptance is the best way to fight against bullying.

It’s Fun to Let Go and Enjoy Something Outside Your Normal

We all tend to gravitate towards people we are comfortable with, can relate to, challenges us, makes us laugh, and intrigues us. Some children develop a habit of making fun of kids that they perceive as different. Did you know 44% of middle school students experience various types of name calling? 36.3% being on the receiving end of hurtful rumors or lies?

I don’t want to teach my kids about color, I want to teach them about beauty. I call it Discovering Beauty

  • The languages we all speak and accents that give away where we are from.
  • Embrace where the shades of our hair, skin, and eyes that draw out how we look.
  • How we scream, snicker, or snort when we laugh out loud.
  • Appreciate the differences in how each individual learns.
  • Understand and respect our individual values and beliefs.
  • Learn how differences shape how we react to strengths and weaknesses
  • Why the feature of our bodies is often hidden in our heritage.
  • Appreciate creatives with wild imaginations.
  • Respect boundaries of those that are soft spoken and like the quiet.
  • Admire the differences in our chosen hairstyles, clothes, and choice in food we eat.

The Hidden Treasure

When I wrote I Love Being Me Uniquely Me, I wanted to capture the innocence of diversity found in our children, their culture and their nationality. Thus, I penned it as a poetic message versus a story per se… where the reader becomes the character. So, none of the characters were assigned a name.

I love being me and I think you’ll agree, someone sweeter than me you’ll not find. If you search high and low, you surely will see, just one me—special, loving and kind.

Diversity and discovering the beauty of people resonated with me when I discovered: Between 1 in 3 students say they have been cyberbullied.

I wanted to create a book with a personal message that allowed the kids to become the character in the story. And to know it is okay to be themselves. I wanted both kids and adults to relate to the message and learn how to practice positive affirmation about themselves. I pictured parents across the globe reading it to their children and encouraging children to be themselves and to see the beauty in what makes us all unique.

“I am blown away. Wow. This book far surpassed my expectations. It was well-written and beautifully illustrated… but, this book went far beyond those two things for me. It made me feel accepted and heard. Even just one simple image of a boy wearing a kipa on his head made me feel my heritage was celebrated.” – Amazon reviewer

Never Underestimate the Power of a Positive Thought!

At some point, young people that are deemed different from their peers become at risk for being bullied. Playground bullies now have bigger audiences with social media.

We, as parents, need to work even harder at making sure our children are grounded and understand the beauty in what makes us different.

All children are diverse. All children come from diverse backgrounds. We are not all alike. Plant the seeds of self-love and acceptance helps all children… not just the ones being bullied.

When our children stand in self-confidence, they no longer feel the need to hurt others. Self-love and acceptance will create a firm foundation when firmly rooted in childhood.

How to practice affirmations from my book that you can say out loud with your kids:

  • “Say after me, ‘There is only one me!’ Say it out loud, ‘And I love being me!’”
  • “You! Yes, you! You should love being yourself too. Being you is something no one else can do.”
  • “Me. Yes, me! I am the one I love to be. Love me or not I will always be me.”

Don’t Try to Fit In. Stand Out by Being you

Teaching our kids about diversity matters—they say. Yes, it does. But let us teach them to understand and see the beauty in diversity.

The author gives special thanks to Margaret Civella, her editor, who helped her out with this article.

Be a part of Oakland Park online!


*LivingInOaklandPark.com is an independent publication, not affiliated with the City of Oakland Park.

About the Author

Karlene J. Froling

Karlene J. Froling

Don’t try to fit in. Stand out by being you. Learning to replace negative thoughts with positivity changed Karlene J. Froling, author of The Mango Seed Doll and CEO of Kay’s Heart, LLC.

She was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica to Stanley and Ivy Brown. In 2003, she migrated to the US, where she currently lives with her husband, two young energetic sons and a daughter with a wild imagination.

While Karlene loved the arts, she just did not see herself as talented enough. Until…

“I can” and “I am good enough” were her affirmations as she wrote and published her first children’s book, to help your children handle the issue of self-acceptance and positive thinking. An issue that she knows too well.

Her books are written to spark curiosity and inspire your children as they read the fun and creative stories of how others handled bullying and mixed emotions. Our hope is that after reading, your children will be informed, encouraged and inspired to dream BIG knowing they are more than good enough to be anything they want to be by being themselves.

When not writing, Karlene enjoys motivating and supporting others, watching movies, and quiet times with her family and friends.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

  1. Brittney Armstrong says:

    What an exhilarating article! It is such a breathe of fresh air to see acceptance of self and of others being taught to children of all ages. The earlier you can teach your child or children to love without regards the better. Commendable work Mrs. Froling!

  2. Karlene is an amazing human and her books are full of love, motivation and kindness! Everything we need in this world!

  3. Faith Lechowicz says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring article on such a sensitive subject. I give the author kudos for teaching her children the important lesson about diversity, that it’s not all about color but how we perceive the things and people around us.

    • Thank you. It is important that our kids learn about the true beauty in diversity which truly makes up the beauty in this wonderful world we live in.

  4. What a refreshing way to encourage all children to embrace the differences we may have and appreciate and value each other for who we are individually. Great uplifting perspective for all Karlene!

  5. Diversity can be a difficult subject to address these days, is great that someone can take time to address these issue from early stages . I love it 🙂

    • True, it can be a difficult topic to discuss when approached in a negative manner. Diversity is beautiful and should be discussed in all its beauty. Thanks for your feedback. Appreciate it.

  6. I like Karlene’s premise of exploring diversity through music, food, art, and literature. I honor my parents who taught me this clear back in the 50’s when acceptance was not the norm. My life has continued to be enriched everyday. Thank you, Karlene, for making this one of your missions in life through your books for kids and other writings.

  7. This would be a wonderful lesson to be taught in schools! I love how Karlene describes diversity: “Diversity is discovering what we enjoy about other cultures, not focusing on why we are different.” Beautifully written!

  8. This turned up on my feed courtesy of a friend on Facebook. Today, the word diversity tend to come across as a ‘dirty’ word. What’s so wrong with diversity? Nothing. Diversity is a beautiful thing that just a small percentage of population fear. I must say I hadn’t quite seen it explained in such a way, as explained by the author – beautiful.

    An amazing job was done showing and explaining the many beauty of diversity. Diversity is EVERYWHERE and should be embraced.

  9. Julie D Arduser says:

    Beautiful article! Shared with my family and friends to share with their friends and family… Just love the article!

  10. Rosaalda Brandão says:

    Karlene, you are indeed an amazing author. This article has covered all that diversity is all about and more. I feel like in the society that we are living today this is something that seems to be lacking in our children lives and education. The world today is no longer the same as it was. I am indeed very proud of the author to have given us this chance to remind us of all the importance of diversity in our lives and in our children lives.

  11. Amazing the way Karlene writes about diversity. This is such a strong subject that being taught at an early age can really shape on how we treat each other with love and respect as children of God.

  12. Kamapala Chukwuka says:

    Beautifully written article! Very powerful message on teaching kids about self acceptance and diversity. Karlene Froling is a true inspiration! Her books are very much needed in shaping young minds. Lovely article

  13. Nadine Miller-Campbell says:

    Wow, this is so amazing. I am a mother too, and had been faced with a similar situation. It’s encouraging and delightful at the same time to know that there are tools and books out there to help parents to teach healthy diversity. Great job my friend.

  14. This is a powerful message. Not just for kids. Adults can also benefit from this article. I never really thought about diversity this way. KARLENE, you are such and inspiration and a great writer. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I have this saved to show my kids too. Thank you again.

    • Thank you. Diversity is such a BEAUTIFUL thing and sometimes we are blind to the beauty standing before our very eyes. It is such an honor to write about this delicate subject and happy that I was able to discuss it in a way that is appreciated. Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate you.

  15. Wow! What a wonderfully written, thoughtful, moving, and MUCH NEEDED article! In our world today, there is so much hate given towards those who are deemed as different. Karlene shows us how to focus on the beauty of being different and unique. Diversity is something to be proud of, not to shun or hide from. Thank you Karlene for showing others how to appreciate other people and the beauty of our differences.

Comments are closed.

Follow LivingInOaklandPark.com in Social Media

Other Posts by Karlene

<img width="300" height="199" src="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1" class="attachment-medium size-medium jetpack-lazy-image" alt="" loading="lazy" data-attachment-id="27878" data-permalink="https://livinginoaklandpark.com/2019/12/09/childs-literacy-matters-they-say/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01/" data-orig-file="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?fit=850%2C565&ssl=1" data-orig-size="850,565" data-comments-opened="0" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01" data-image-description="" data-image-caption="" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?fit=660%2C439&ssl=1" data-lazy-srcset="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?w=850&ssl=1 850w, https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?resize=300%2C199&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?resize=768%2C510&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?resize=750%2C499&ssl=1 750w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-lazy-src="https://i2.wp.com/livinginoaklandpark.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/child-literacy-new-liop-2021-01.png?fit=300%2C199&ssl=1&is-pending-load=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" />
Books for Children

Child’s Literacy Matters They Say…

I am a full-time working mother of three beautiful children. My two boys

Read More »

Sign-Up for the LivingInOaklandPark.com Newsletter

Portrait of beautiful smiling girl standing and holding postcard on gray background

%d bloggers like this: