Pink and Brown: Celebrating Shades of You
by Jill Hart and Takiela Bynum
"Hi Takiela, I have a funny story to tell you. The other day after you and your son left my house, my son asked me, 'Mommy how I do make Terryon's skin pink like mine?'" I chuckled while I stood at the sink with the phone in hand waiting for Takiela's response.
"That is too cute. What did you tell him?"
"I wasn't sure what say so I redirected his attention. It's actually why I'm calling, though. I want to know what you would have said in that situation."
This conversation began a series of discussions between us on the subject of educating our children regarding cultural differences. We've all had situations like this, where our children ask us questions about why people are different colors, shapes, or sizes. Sometimes we're embarrassed by their questions or comments. Their curiosity is natural, however, as they take notice of the world around them.
Diversity is apparent in most areas of our kids' lives. People from all walks of life are in our society today, from Oprah and Barack Obama, to cartoons like Dora and Handy Manny. Differences are what make us unique individuals. Shushing our children is not the answer to these questions, uncomfortable as they might be.
As a mom, your response will influence your children’s view of the world. By modeling and sharing a godly perspective, you can develop a loving way of thinking about others and a healthy attitude toward cultural differences. Here are a few ways to address questions about differences:
- Be open and honest. Don't shy away from the questions and comments your child has from time to time.
- Explain to your child about how God made us all different. Do it in terms they can understand.
- Point out the positive differences between members of your family. Share how being unique makes each person special.
- Encourage friendships with people who are different from your child. Playdates are a great way to expose your child to diversity and you might also make a new friend.
- Take time to help your child learn about cultures by reading books and magazines or eating at an ethic restaurant.
- Praise your children for being kind and looking beyond appearances.
As a mom you certainly don't have all the answers to those questions that make you blush in public. By nurturing the relationships your child develops with other children of any culture, you will give him a head start in life. The earlier children learn these lessons, the better chance they have at succeeding in our multicultural society. By following the above tips, you can easily develop these strengths in your child.
Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work At Home Moms, www.CWAHM.com, a website devoted to helping moms find success at home. She is also the co-author of the book So You Want To Be A Work-At-Home Mom (Beacon Hill, Sept 2009). Takiela Bynum is the founder of www.BooksALatte.com, a website dedicated to promoting multicultural Christian authors. She is also a freelance writer working on her first novel.