“I pledge allegiance, to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”…
These are powerful words that children recite in classrooms all over the world. After reciting these words, how do you then answer the questions from your children of why there is violence; religious persecution, racial persecution, gender persecution, sexual preference persecution, the list goes on and on? This is a difficult time to be in as a parent but explaining things to children in a way that they can understand is important. Diversity and tolerance should not be something that is thrown into the conversation when a tragedy occurs, it should be a part of everyday conversations with our children.
The first question should be discussing what tolerance is.
What is Tolerance?
- Tolerance is about an attitude of openness and respect for someone else’s differences and choices
- Rejecting unfair stereotypes (a stereotype is believing that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same)
- All behaviors do not have to be accepted if they disrespect or hurt other people (i.e. bullying, just because a group of people are doing that it does not mean that you accept it…this is not what tolerance is about)
- Golden Rule…Treat others like you want to be treated
How do you teach Tolerance as a Parent/Caregiver?
- Leading by example is the BEST way to teach children. They listen to and watch what you say and they watch how you treat people…even when you think they are not paying attention. Insensitive comments, gestures etc. are picked up by children, don’t have conversations and make jokes that perpetuate stereotypes
- The media is a great conversation starter to discuss the correct way to react to cultural differences and the correct way to react. Shielding children from everything is not possible but learning to discuss things in a way that they can understand helps create respectful citizens. They have to understand that you may not always agree but you have to always show respect
- Respect your own children. If they are treated in a way that makes them feel good about themselves then they are less likely to have bad self-esteem and inject their negative view of themselves onto others
Tolerance is not about hiding how you really feel it is about respecting differences and honoring the diversity in our world and pledging our allegiance to…Liberty and Justice for ALL.