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.
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.
Even the architecture across the United States is diverse.
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.
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…
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
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:
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.
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.